Antibacterial and Antiviral Effects of Ag, Cu and Zn Metals, Respective Nanoparticles and Filter Materials Thereof against Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza A Virus

Pharmaceutics. 2022 Nov 22;14(12):2549. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics14122549.


Due to the high prevalence of infectious diseases and their concurrent outbreaks, there is a high interest in developing novel materials with antimicrobial properties. Antibacterial and antiviral properties of a range of metal-based nanoparticles (NPs) are a promising means to fight airborne diseases caused by viruses and bacteria. The aim of this study was to test antimicrobial metals and metal-based nanoparticles efficacy against three viruses, namely influenza A virus (H1N1; A/WSN/1933) and coronaviruses TGEV and SARS-CoV-2; and two bacteria, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. The efficacy of ZnO, CuO, and Ag NPs and their respective metal salts, i.e., ZnSO4, CuSO4, and AgNO3, was evaluated in suspensions, and the compounds with the highest antiviral efficacy were chosen for incorporation into fibers of cellulose acetate (CA), using electrospinning to produce filter materials for face masks. Among the tested compounds, CuSO4 demonstrated the highest efficacy against influenza A virus and SARS-CoV-2 (1 h IC50 1.395 mg/L and 0.45 mg/L, respectively), followed by Zn salt and Ag salt. Therefore, Cu compounds were selected for incorporation into CA fibers to produce antiviral and antibacterial filter materials for face masks. CA fibers comprising CuSO4 decreased SARS-CoV-2 titer by 0.38 logarithms and influenza A virus titer by 1.08 logarithms after 5 min of contact; after 1 h of contact, SARS-COV-2 virus was completely inactivated. Developed CuO- and CuSO4-based filter materials also efficiently inactivated the bacteria Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. The metal NPs and respective metal salts were potent antibacterial and antiviral compounds that were successfully incorporated into the filter materials of face masks. New antibacterial and antiviral materials developed and characterized in this study are crucial in the context of the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and beyond.

Keywords: copper oxide; coronavirus; electrospinning; face masks; silver; toxicity; zinc oxide.