Joint UK Research Team Will Use Nanotech to Fight Viruses

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 9:38 am    Post subject: Joint UK Research Team Will Use Nanotech to Fight Viruses Reply with quote

[b]Joint UK Research Team Will Use Nanotechnology to Fight Viruses, Including Bird Flu[/b]

A UK-based consortium is to develop a way of fighting viruses - including bird flu - by using tiny particles.

The group will be using nanotechnology, the science of manipulating material on the scale of atoms and molecules to build useful items.

To put it into perspective, a nanometre is one billionth of a metre, and normal office paper is about 100,000 nanometres thick.

The £2 million, two-year programme will work on developing a range of nanomaterials for use in the fight against a broad spectrum of viruses.

Funded by the South East England Development Agency, the programme will be carried out by Team AVNP, a consortium of six businesses and academic institutions.

Led by QinetiQ Nanomaterials Ltd, they will develop a range of nanomaterials that have already proved effective against viruses in initial tests.

Dr Guogang Ren, of Queen Mary’s University of London and a partner in Team AVNP, discovered that at the nanoscale, certain inorganic materials kill viruses such as SARS and avian flu on contact.

Team AVNP will develop combinations of nanoparticles and nanocompounds for use in a range of antiviral products such as face masks, air filters and antiviral coatings.

QNL founder and chief technology officer Dr Paul Reip said: “H5N1 bird flu is just one of a number of viruses such as SARS that represent a genuine threat across the globe.

“There is a long term requirement for new and innovative antiviral materials that can be applied to products such as face masks to protect not only frontline staff such as nurses, doctors and paramedics but also the general public.”

Such materials could also be used on banknotes and computer keyboards to help prevent viral epidemics.

Nanomaterials have already been used in cosmetics - some sunscreens use nanoparticles of zinc oxide which absorb ultra-violet rays.

The Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, predicted a bright future for nanotechnology when he was interviewed by DTI News in September 2004.

He said: “Scientists are learning about nanotechnology and its benefits, which is to be welcomed. As long as it is well regulated I see massive benefits from it.”

Source: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

URL: [url][/url]

This story was posted on 13 April 2006.
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