Chinese scientists engineer nanomaterials that can stop COVID

Nanomaterials are materials that measure only one billionth of a meter in length. These particular nanomaterials are called CIPSs because they are made of copper, indium, phosphorus, and sulphur.

CIPSs have the ability to selectively bind with the coronavirus’ spike protein, effectively blocking the infection process from going any further and causing COVID effects. This is because the Sars-CoV-2 virus invades human cells using this spike protein. Stop the spike protein and you stop the infection.

“It serves as a trap for the virus,” the National Centre for Nanoscience and Technology said on its website.

CIPSs essentially capture the virus to create a stable complex which is then eliminated by the body’s macrophages. These are large white blood cells in the human immune system that digest foreign substances and expel them.

“Experiments show that CIPS effectively inhibits infection in cells, organoids and mice, and effectively relieves lung inflammation in mice caused by Sars-CoV-2 infection,” the study said.

Current vaccines and antibodies against Sars-CoV-2 reduce in effectiveness against variants like Omicron. This is because most antibodies are engineered to bind with one single location on the virus. However, the mutation in Omicron variants alters the structure of the surface. CIPSs, however, can effectively bind to multiple sites at the same time.

There are currently more than 1,000 new coronavirus mutant strains. Although the researchers could not test for all of them, the new CIPS materials were indeed found to be highly effective against the most common variants: Alpha, Beta, Delta and Omicron.

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