Water-Borne Nanocoating for Rapid Inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 and Other Viruses

Valentin A. Bobrin, Sung Po Chen, Carlos Fitzgerald Grandes Reyes, Bing Sun, Chun Ki Ng, Youry Kim, Damian Purcell, Zhongfan Jia, Wenyi Gu, Jason W. Armstrong, Julie McAuley, Michael J. Monteiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The rise in coronavirus variants has resulted in surges of the disease across the globe. The mutations in the spike protein on the surface of the virion membrane not only allow for greater transmission but also raise concerns about vaccine effectiveness. Preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2, its variants, and other viruses from person to person via airborne or surface transmission requires effective inactivation of the virus. Here, we report a water-borne spray-on coating for the complete inactivation of viral particles and degradation of their RNA. Our nanoworms efficiently bind and, through subsequent large nanoscale conformational changes, rupture the viral membrane and subsequently bind and degrade its RNA. Our coating completely inactivated SARS-CoV-2 (VIC01) and an evolved SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern (B.1.1.7 (alpha)), influenza A, and a surrogate capsid pseudovirus expressing the influenza A virus attachment glycoprotein, hemagglutinin. The polygalactose functionality on the nanoworms targets the conserved S2 subunit on the SARS-CoV-2 virion surface spike glycoprotein for stronger binding, and the additional attachment of guanidine groups catalyze the degradation of its RNA genome. Coating surgical masks with our nanoworms resulted in complete inactivation of VIC01 and B.1.1.7, providing a powerful control measure for SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. Inactivation was further observed for the influenza A and an AAV-HA capsid pseudovirus, providing broad viral inactivation when using the nanoworm system. The technology described here represents an environmentally friendly coating with a proposed nanomechanical mechanism for inactivation of both enveloped and capsid viruses. The functional nanoworms can be easily modified to target viruses in future pandemics, and is compatible with large scale manufacturing processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14915-14927
Number of pages13
JournalACS Nano
Issue number9
Early online date23 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • emulsion polymerization
  • polymer nanostructures
  • responsive polymers
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • virus inactivation


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