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UNR researchers say titanium coating has an impact on the coronavirus

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 7:00 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Inside a beaker in a lab at the Laxalt Mineral Engineering Building, on the University of Nevada Reno campus, titanium which researchers turn into what they call nanotubes. The finished product will make its way to the Center for Molecular Medicine as a coating where laboratory technicians will determine if the film has an impact on the Coronavirus.

“It looks like tubes, hallow tubes,” says Prof. Ravi Subramanian and Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering at the University of Nevada Reno. “We prepared these tubes and turned them over to our collaborators and asked them to test it,” he says.

Professor Subramanian says titanium is used in common products like toothpaste and sunscreen.

While it is understood the element can prevent microorganisms from multiplying, in these times, the focus is on the coronavirus. Specifically, can a coating created from titanium, placed on a surface in effect stop the virus from replicating.

At the Center for Molecular Medicine, the coating is placed on a glass surface. Then droplets of the coronavirus were placed on top. In one dish a control group is present to compare a treated and untreated surface.

The entire surface is hit with 30 seconds of UV light.

“All of them were inactivated in a very brief exposure of the UV light,” says Professor Subhash Verma of the viruses on the treated glass. Verma is an Associate Professor of Microbiology with the University of Nevada Reno, School of Medicine.

Dr. Verma says ultimately the titanium coating could be placed in a spray to treat surfaces. Or it could be put in building materials—all to keep the virus at bay.

High traffic areas, schools and hospitals might be the first to use such a product. But all of that is some time off.

The next question is, and there are plenty of next questions, but the most important is, where will the funding come from?

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