The unprecedented global pandemic of COVID-19 has brought the world to its knees. It has now made two important aspects very clear, the first is that preparedness to counter microbial threats to the health and the economy is paramount, and the second is that an isolated, regional problem can become a global catastrophe very rapidly. The SARS-COV-2, a severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spreads much more readily. Now the number of infected is slowly reaching 100 million, which is 100,000 times of the people infected with the SARS-COV (SARS outbreak during 2002-2004). Although the fatality rate of the SARS-Cov-2 virus is lower compared to other viral outbreaks including SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and EVD (Ebola Virus Disease), the rapid spread has posed unique challenges worldwide [1,2]. The rapid spread of the virus has been contributed by the spike protein and its interaction with cells of human host. The spike protein has been reported to be activated by host-cell enzyme, that shows the evolution of the virus as a successful human pathogen .
Multiple research groups in recent times have identified aerosolized droplets as the major mode of SARS-COV-2 transmission [4,5]. This reiterates the importance of wearing a face mask in reducing the spread of disease. The live virus can settle-down on inanimate objects through aerosol being deposited or by contact. These objects and materials carrying infections, termed fomites, include common objects like furniture, clothes, door-knobs, railing and shopping carts. This virus has shown to be viable up to 3 hours in aerosols, and from a few days to 4 weeks on surfaces [4,5,6]. In addition to the use of masks, and personal hygiene including washing hands frequently with soap and water, extensive use of antimicrobials as hand and surface sanitizers has been a common practice. The overuse of antimicrobials creates resistant microbes, and the detrimental impact of the pandemic on the economy means that frequent cleaning of hospital and community areas won't be feasible. To address these challenges, developing a smart technology that uses a novel, safe and effective antimicrobial approach, able to withstand basic wash and environmental exposure for a longer time (months) will be ideal. We, at Polyamyna Nanotech Inc. developed an ideal antimicrobial technology KeepKlearTM (https://keepklear.com/) and successfully tested it against human coronavirus (229E) and a number of bacterial and fungal pathogens including multi-drug resistant ones. KeepKlearTM coated hard surfaces reduce viral, bacterial and fungal pathogens even after hundreds of wipes with a detergent solution by >99.99%.
Our appreciation and gratitude to the frontline health workers and volunteers worldwide, who have sacrificed a lot from the beginning of the pandemic and continue to do so. As long-term solution vaccines were developed by researchers, and the three major vaccines in western countries include two mRNA based vaccines BNT162b2 (by Pfizer and BioNtech) and mRNA-1273 (by Moderna) , and a modified live virus expressing the SARS-COV-2 spike protein (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, by Oxford/AstraZeneca) . The large-scale production, storage, distribution and availability to people across the globe of these vaccines and vaccines developed by China and Russia will take years and until then the threat of the COVID-19 will remain. We shouldn’t forget what we learn from this and going forward our collective preparedness to face a pandemic at both scientific/R&D and personal level will decide the success we have in controlling such threats in the future.
3. Jaimes, J. A., André, N. M., Millet, J. K. & Whittaker, G. R. Preprint at bioRxiv https://doi-org.uml.idm.oclc.org/10.1101/2020.02.10.942185 (2020).
4. Zhang, R., Li, Y., Zhang, A.L., Wang, Y., Molina M.J. Identifying airborne transmission as the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2020;117(26):202009637.
5. Stadnytskyi, V., Bax, C.E., Bax, A. and Anfinrud, P. The airborne lifetime of small speech droplets and their potential importance in SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA.2020;117(22):11875–7.
6. Riddell, S., Goldie, S., Hill, A. et al. The effect of temperature on persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on common surfaces. Virol J 17, 145 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12985-020-01418-7
8. Knoll, M.D., and Wonodi, C. Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine efficacy. Published Online December 8, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1016/ S0140-6736(20)32623-4