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U.K. Team Targets Viruses With Nanomaterials

Consortium tasked with development of coatings, face masks, and air filters to kill SARS and avian flu

by Patricia Short
April 13, 2006

A consortium led by QinetiQ Nanomaterials Ltd. (QNL), a subsidiary of the U.K. firm QinetiQ, will develop a range of nanomaterials for use in the fight against a broad spectrum of viruses.

A two-year program is being funded by the Southeast England Development Agency, which has allocated $3.5 million to the project. Called Team AVNP (AntiViral NanoParticles), the consortium of six businesses and academic institutions in the southeast of England will explore a discovery made by Guogang Ren at Queen Mary's University, London. Ren discovered that at the nanoscale certain undisclosed inorganic materials kill viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian flu on contact.

Team AVNP will develop combinations of nanoparticles and nanocompounds for application to a range of antiviral products such as face masks, air filters, and antiviral coatings, exploiting the larger surface area available at the nanoscale. The program will optimize the effectiveness of nanomaterials and assess their toxicology for different antiviral applications. It will also restructure production processes for nanomaterials to deliver preproduction prototypes.

The six partners are QNL, Brunel University, Queen Mary's College, Retroscreen Virology Ltd., Pall Corp. (for expertise in filtration), and Sun Chemical (for expertise in coatings technology).


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