Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed a nanomaterial that could one day be used as a decontamination agent or surface coating material for destroying all major variants of the COVID-19 virus.

The nanomaterial features CIPS — copper, indium, phosphorous and sulfur — that selectively bind with the coronavirus’ spike protein, which is a vehicle for the SARS-CoV2 virus, thereby blocking the infection from progressing. In other words, by stopping the spike protein the infection is thus stopped.

CIPS reportedly captures the virus and then eliminates it using the body’s macrophages — white blood cells in the human immune system — to expel them.

Setting CIPS apart from current vaccines and antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 is their effectiveness against variants of the virus — Alpha, Beta, Delta and Omicron. According to the researchers, current vaccines and antibodies experience reduced effectiveness against variants because most antibodies are produced to bind with one single location on the virus while CIPSs can effectively bind to multiple sites simultaneously.

The article, A nanomaterial targeting the spike protein captures SARS-CoV-2 variants and promotes viral elimination, appears in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

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