Conde Lab | Nanotechnology-based disinfectants and sensors for SARS-CoV-2


João Conde, group leader from Conde Lab recently published an article in the journal in Nature Nanotechnology entitled "Nanotechnology-based disinfectants and sensors for SARS-CoV-2" (full article here).

In brief, João Conde talks about this review:

Your research group focuses on nanotechnology applied to cancer, how does it compare to the use nanotechnology & SARS-CoV-2?

The idea of using NANOtechnology is that viruses like COVID-19 work on a similar scale as NANOmaterials. At this scale structures are just ten times bigger than individual atoms. Therefore, the interaction of nanostructures with microorganisms like viruses is in fact gaining momentum in the biomedical field by offering a huge potential in both diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, in the same way it offers to diagnose and treat cancer.

Why/How is the use of nanotechnology important when applied to health or disease treatment?

Although preventing and treating COVID-19 has a lot of puts and takes, NANOtechnology is around the corner to do so. Being a highly multi-disciplinary and translational-focused field, NANOtechnology is able to quickly pivot and refocus unique engineering approaches on much needed solutions for many of the problems this pandemic poses, as well as to alleviate the already over-strained medical treatment centers.

The promise of nanotechnology is lying in the potential of manipulating matter on the small scale used other by nature or by humans. This opens new vistas to work at the scale of the cells and microbes like viruses. These NANOmaterials that have exceptional features and cues, otherwise absent at a macroscopic level, may have the potential to present efficient functions and benefits that can be applied to medical science and clinics. This is no exception for the detection and treatment of COVID-19. From these applications, we can only envision that the use of NANOtechnologies will shape the worldwide epidemiological trace of COVID-19.

If you could choose one nanotech application for SARS-CoV-2 treatment which one would it be and why?

I would choose the new vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA). These vaccines provide a synthetic mRNA of the virus, which the host body then uses to produce the viral proteins itself. In fact, Moderna Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics is already testing a mRNA-based vaccine candidate (mRNA-1273) against COVID-19. mRNA-1273 is an mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 encoding for a prefusion stabilized form of the S protein, which was selected by Moderna in collaboration with the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). According to National Institutes of Health (NIH), during this Phase 1 study, under the Investigational New Drug (IND) the synthesized mRNA which is required for preparing the vaccine is embedded in lipid nanoparticles.
The mRNA-1273 vaccine induced anti–SARS-CoV-2 immune responses in all participants, and no trial-limiting safety concerns were identified in the last studies reported. These findings support further development of this vaccine.

Find out more about Conde Lab in the website.

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