Two scientists from Curtin University in Western Australia found that the aforementioned elements, alongside electric fields, can be used to destroy SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins. The study authors, Essam Dief and Nadim Darwish, noted their discoveries in a February 2023 paper published in Chemical Science.
"Coronaviruses have spike proteins on their periphery that allow them to penetrate host cells and cause infection," study lead and corresponding author Darwish said in a media statement. "We have found [that] these proteins become stuck to the surface of silicon, gold and copper through a reaction that forms a strong chemical bond."
The two researchers dissolved SARS-CoV-2 S1 spike proteins in water and applied this solution to silicon wafers and sheets of gold, platinum, copper and stainless steel. They then closely scrutinized the material using atomic force microscopy (AFM) imaging.
Dief and Darwish noted in the study that "the S1 spike protein remains connected to some surfaces, particularly [silicon] and [gold], despite significant washing. Similar reactions were observed in platinum and copper, while stainless steel "showed no covalent bonding" with the spike protein.
"The capability of [silicon, platinum, gold and copper] to react with the spike protein can potentially be used to develop anti-coronavirus surfaces that are capable of irreversibly trapping the virus via strong covalent bonds. This covalent bonding potentially explains why SARS-CoV-2 survives a limited amount of time on copper, compared to its viability on stainless steel and plastics."
Darwish cited potential uses of these elements against COVID-19: "We believe these materials can be used to capture coronaviruses by being used in air filters; as a coating for benches, tables and walls or [incorporated into] the fabric of wipe cloths and face masks." (Related: Metals like copper and gold can help end the COVID-19 pandemic, say researchers.)
The February 2023 paper also expounded on the use of electrical pulses to detect and destroy SARS-CoV-2 by attracting the spike proteins on the virus' surface.
"It has been recently shown via atomistic simulations that electric fields of moderate strengths … can dramatically change the conformation of the SARS-CoV-2 S1 protein," the two study authors wrote.
"Electric fields have been theorized and experimentally demonstrated to have a profound effect on the chemical structure and reactivity [of molecules], and this study indicates that similar effects need to be considered for SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins."
Study co-author Essam Dief remarked: "We discovered that electric current can pass through the spike protein and because of this, the protein can be electrically detected."
According to him, this finding can be translated into a potential way of detecting COVID-19 infection by applying a solution to a mouth or nose swab and testing it in a tiny electronic device able to electrically detect viral proteins. Dief added that this could provide instant, more sensitive and accurate COVID-19 testing.
Given this finding, Dief and Darwish noted that the spike protein's structure changes when electrical pulses are applied. The spike protein is destroyed at a certain magnitude of the electric pulses, they added. This opened up the possibility of electric fields being able to deactivate and ultimately destroy the pathogen responsible for COVID-19.
"Changes detected in the conductance of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein demonstrated here can be potentially used for characterizing, detecting, and potentially denaturing and deactivating coronaviruses. For example, such electric fields can be incorporated in air filtering systems with magnitudes below what causes ionization of air," the two concluded.
Dief commented: "By incorporating materials such as copper or silicon in air filters, we can potentially capture and consequently stop the spread of the virus. Also importantly, by incorporating electric fields through air filters, for example, we also expect this to deactivate the virus."
Watch Morley Robbins explain the importance of including copper in one's daily diet to InfoWars' Kate Dalley below.
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