Antiviral Technology for PPE Coating and Environmental Sterilisation

NUI Galway Background
Protecting healthcare workers is pivotal for control of SARS-CoV-2, yet infection rates amongst this cohort are high (26% of cases in Ireland). A recent study from Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University (Ye et al. 2020) demonstrated high levels of viral contamination on items such as PPE, printers, keyboards, doorknobs and hand sanitisers. Such contamination is a major causative factor of frontline staff infection, and in the development of infection clusters seen in hospitals, nursing homes and care facilities worldwide.
There are several viricidal solutions with demonstrated efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 e.g. >60% ethanol, Sodium hypochlorite, formaldehyde, these do not lend themselves to widespread usage as a surface decontaminant e.g. sourcing issues (ethanol), human toxicity issues (sodium hypochlorite, formaldehyde). As such there exists no cheap, effective means of periodically sterilising PPE and hospital equipment; nor any means of providing a viricidal temporal coating for PPE. The latter effect is important both for minimising infection during patient-contact, but also as a means of PPE sterilisation in the event of PPE shortages and recycling (providing a gentler sterilisation than autoclaving).
Technology Overview
NUI Galway researchers have developed two platform anti-infective technologies, referred to as long acting reactive species (LARS) and the iodothiocyanate complex (ITC). These are easily manufactured and are effective against all pathogenic microorganisms tested (bacteria, yeast, fungi), without allowing for the facile induction of resistance or antibiotic cross-resistance to emerge. LARS and ITC are viricidal against the range of enveloped viruses tested to date, including Bovine Virus diarrhoea-Virus (BVDV), Bovine Herpes virus Type 1 (BHV-1) and Bovine Parainfluenza virus Type 3 (PI-3). SARS-CoV-2 is also enveloped. LARS and ITC can be delivered in a number of ways, including by wash/spray/aerosol/nebulisation. They demonstrate excellent viricidal activity with short contact times, with data suggesting the substantivity of ITC technology on hard surfaces for several hours.
LARS and ITC technologies may be effective, flexible and rapid disinfectants for PPE (visors, gowns, gloves) and the wider healthcare environment. Periodic washing/spraying of LARS (face masks and skin contact items) and ITC (other surfaces) shall greatly reduce environmental and PPE contamination with SARS-CoV-2 and thus infection rates.
These findings have been published in several papers

Tonoyan, L., Friel, R. and O’Flaherty, V., 2019. Mutation rate and effux response of bacteria exposed to a novel antimicrobial iodo-thiocyanate complex. J Glob Antimicrob Resist
Tonoyan, L., Fleming, G.T., Friel, R. and O’Flaherty, V., 2019. Continuous culture of Escherichia coli, under selective pressure by a novel antimicrobial complex, does not result in development of resistance. Scientific reports, 9(1), p.2401
Tonoyan, L., Boyd, A., Fleming, G.T., Friel, R., Gately, C.M., Mc Cay, P.H. and O’Flaherty, V., 2018. In vitro comparative cytotoxicity study of a novel biocidal iodo-thiocyanate complex. Toxicology in Vitro, 50, pp.264-273.
Tonoyan, L., Fleming, G.T., Mc Cay, P.H., Friel, R. and O’Flaherty, V., 2017. Antibacterial potential of an antimicrobial agent inspired by peroxidase-catalyzed systems. Frontiers in microbiology, 8, p.680

These have been demonstrated to be efficacious as an environmental sterilant and in a range of infectious disease models across a variety of applications.

Effective viricidal agent against enveloped viruses
Effective bactericidal effect against all bacterial strains tested to date (Gram-positive and -negative)
Effective against antibiotic-resistant strains (single and multi-drug resistant strains)
Do not allow for an induction of resistance or cross-resistance following prolonged exposure
Substantive technology allowing for prophylactic protection
Excellent safety and toxicity profile following animal studies
Low-cost, readily manufacturable active ingredients

The technologies have a range of applications. These have been demonstrated and validated to be effective when delivered across a range of delivery formats (oral, aerosol, nebulisation, liquid, powdered, gel, encapsulation, coating etc.). As a potential technology against SARS-CoV-2, this has application as an easy to apply coating for PPE and other surfaces.
NUI Galway are seeking an out-licensing opportunity or potential co-development arrangement.

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