A group of scientists from Texas A&M University, in the USA, made an incredible discovery: a way to neutralize the coronavirus causing Covid-19 in less than a second.
Researchers led by Arum han, a professor in the university’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, designed an experimental system that could prove to be a key turning point amid the pandemic.
According to the article published in the news of Phys.org, the work shows that the exposure of SARS-CoV-2 to high temperatures, even if it lasts less than a second, it can be enough to neutralize the Covid-19 so that can no longer infect another human host.
The researchers plan to build a microfluidic chip that will allow them to heat treat viruses. Photo: Texas A&M Engineering
In the experiment, the scientists heated the section of a stainless steel tube, through which the solution containing the coronavirus passed, to almost 72 degrees Celsius for about half a second, cooling it right afterwards.
In this way, they realized that the thermal process is able to reduce the amount of virus in the solution 100,000 times, which would be enough to neutralize it and prevent transmission in a much shorter time than previously thought possible.
A microscope image of a Covid-19 case. Photo: Science Source
The application of heat to neutralize Covid-19 was previously demonstrated, but in those studies temperatures of between one and 20 minutes were applied.
“I was curious to know how high the temperatures are that we can apply in such a short period of time and see if we could heat inactivate the coronavirus in a very short time,” explained Professor Han, co-author of the study, who opined that “the potential impact is huge. “
What will happen now
With the mission of mitigating the spread of the coronavirus that caused a health emergency in the world, experts believe that the discovery could be implemented in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Exposure of SARS-CoV-2 to high temperatures, even if it lasts less than a second, may be enough to neutralize it.
Han also pointed out that it could be used to fight another type of virus that spreads through the air, such as influenza.
The next step for the science team is build a test chip on a microfluidic scale that allows them to heat treat viruses for much shorter periods of time.
The work on Covid-19 was by scientists at Texas A&M University. Photo: Reuters
The objective, of course, aims to identify a temperature that allows it to be left inactive even with a short exposure time.
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