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Long-lasting disinfectant promises to help fight pandemics – Science Daily

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University of Central Florida researchers have developed a nanoparticle-based disinfectant that can continuously kill viruses on a surface for up to seven days — a discovery that could be a powerful weapon against COVID-19 and other emerging pathogenic viruses.

The findings, by a multidisciplinary team of the university’s virus and engineering experts and the leader of an Orlando technology firm, were published this week in ACS Nano, a journal of the American Chemical Society.

Christina Drake, a UCF alumna and founder of Kismet Technologies, was inspired to develop the disinfectant after making a trip to the grocery store in the early days of the pandemic. There she saw a worker spraying disinfectant on a refrigerator handle, then wiping off the spray immediately.

“Initially my thought was to develop a fast-acting disinfectant,” she said, “but we spoke to consumers — like doctors and dentists — to find out what they really wanted from a disinfectant. What mattered the most to them was something long-lasting that would continue to disinfect high-touch areas like doorhandles and floors long after application.”

Drake partnered with Dr. Sudipta Seal, a UCF materials engineer and nanosciences expert, and Dr. Griff Parks, a College of Medicine virologist who is also associate dean of research and director of the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. With funding from the National Science Foundation, Kismet Tech and the Florida High Tech Corridor, the researchers created a nanoparticle-engineered disinfectant.

Its active ingredient is an engineered nanostructure called cerium oxide, which is known for its regenerative antioxidant properties. The cerium oxide nanoparticles are modified with small amounts of silver to make them more potent against pathogens.

“It works both chemically and mechanically,” explained Seal, a who has been studying nanotechnology for more than 20 years. “The nanoparticles emit electrons that oxidize the virus, rendering it inactive. Mechanically, they also attach themselves to the virus and rupture the surface almost like popping a balloon.”

Most disinfecting wipes or sprays will disinfect a surface within three to six minutes of application but have no residual effects. This means surfaces need to be wiped down repeatedly to stay clean from a number of viruses like COVID-19. The nanoparticle formulation maintains its ability to inactivate microbes and continues to disinfect a surface for up to seven days after a single application.

“The disinfectant has shown tremendous antiviral activity against seven different viruses,” explained Parks, whose lab was responsible for testing the formulation against “a dictionary” of viruses. “Not only did it show antiviral properties toward coronavirus and rhinovirus, but it also proved effective against a wide range of other viruses with different structures and complexities. We are hopeful that with this amazing range of killing capacity, this disinfectant will also be a highly effective tool against other new emerging viruses. “

The scientists are confident the solution will have a major impact in health care settings, in particular, reducing the rate of hospital acquired infections — such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Clostridium difficile — which cause infections that affect more than one in 30 patients admitted to U.S. hospitals.

And unlike many commercial disinfectants, the formulation has no harmful chemicals, which indicates it will be safe to use on any surface. Regulatory testing for irritancy on skin and eye cells, as required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, showed no harmful effects.

“Many household disinfectants currently available contain chemicals that can be harmful to the body with repeated exposure,” Drake said. “Our nanoparticle-based product will have a high safety rating will play a major role in reducing overall chemical exposure for humans.”

More research is needed before the product can go to market, which is why the next phase of the study will look at how the disinfectant performs outside of the lab in real world applications. That work will look at how the disinfectant is affected by external factors such as temperature or sunlight. The team is in talks with a local hospital network to test the product in their facilities.

“We’re also exploring developing a semi-permanent film to see if we can coat and seal a hospital floor or door handles, areas where you need things to be disinfected and even with aggressive and persistent contact,” Drake added.

Seal joined UCF’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, which is part of UCF’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, in 1997. He has an appointment at the College of Medicine and is a member of UCF’s prosthetics Cluster Biionix. He is the former director of UCF’s Nanoscience Technology Center and Advanced Materials Processing Analysis Center. He received his doctorate in materials engineering with a minor in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California Berkeley.

Parks came to UCF in 2014 after 20 years at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, where he was professor and chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He earned his doctorate in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin and was an American Cancer Society Fellow at Northwestern University.

The study was co-authored by post-doctoral researchers Candace Fox, from UCF’s College of Medicine and Craig Neal from UCF’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences and graduate students, Tamil Sakthivel, Udit Kumar and Yifei Fu from UCf’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences.

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Elon Musk pledges $50M to St. Jude fundraiser – WAGM

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(CNN) – SpaceX founder Elon Musk helped St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital reach its $200 million fundraising goal.

Musk pledged $50 million in response to a public call for donations following the successful splashdown of the SpaceX Dragon capsule.

Billionaire Jared Isaacman personally financed the Inspiration4 mission as a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Hayley Arceneaux, a childhood cancer survivor who now works for the hospital, joined him on the three-day space tourism mission.

The crew will continue fundraising for the children’s hospital by auctioning off some of the items they took into space, including signed collectibles.

Copyright 2021 CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.

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Elon Musk: Next SpaceX flight will have better toilets, WiFi, oven – Business Insider

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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

REUTERS/Steve Nesius


  • Elon Musk said the next SpaceX civilian mission would have a better toilet.
  • SpaceX successfully completed its first all-civilian mission, Inspiration4, last week.
  • Musk said on Twitter there had been “challenges” with the toilet, without elaborating.

Elon Musk said on Twitter that SpaceX plans to upgrade the amenities for its next space-tourist flight, including the toilet.

The Inspiration4 crew, made up of four non-astronauts, took off on Wednesday aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. They landed back on Earth on Saturday evening.

Elon Musk tweeted on Monday saying he’d met the crew in person in Florida, and then answered questions from Twitter users about the company’s plans for the next mission.

Responding to one user, Musk said the next flight would have “upgraded toilets,” adding, “we had some challenges with it this flight.”

The billionaire did not elaborate on what these challenges were, or how exactly the toilets would be upgraded.

Jared Isaacman, one of the passengers on Inspiration4, told Insider in July the toilet for Crew Dragon was located on the ceiling of the spacecraft and featured a glass dome, meaning crewmembers had a 360-degree view while using the bathroom.

“It’s not a ton of privacy. But you do have this kind of privacy curtain that cuts across the top of the spacecraft, so you can kind of separate yourself from everyone else,” Isaacman said.

Isaacman added that learning to use the toilet on the spacecraft was part of the civilian astronauts’ rigorous pre-flight training. 

crew dragon spaceship above earth with glass dome cupola beneath nosecone

An illustration of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship with a glass dome or “cupola” at its nose — containing the toilet.


SpaceX



Musk also said the next flight would have a small oven for heating food, and WiFi provided by Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite internet project.

The crew for the Inspiration4 mission took cold pizza on their three-day flight. While in space they chatted with Musk and actor Tom Cruise.

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SpaceX Tourists Struggled With Space Toilet – Futurism

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There was an issue with the Waste Management System.

Toilet Troubles

Four space tourists circled the Earth for three full days as part of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission last week.

It was mostly smooth sailing for the four civilians, who ate cold pizza and even watched “Spaceballs” during the trip.

But it sounds like the mission did leave some room for improvement — there were issues with the toilet, Space.com reports.

“It was very clean mission from start to finish,” SpaceX human spaceflight programs lead Benji Reed said during a press conference following the successful landing on Saturday. “We had a couple of issues that we worked, we did work something on the Waste Management System, but that was worked [out] fine and, you know, the crew was happy and healthy.”

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Sucking Up Waste

The toilet — located underneath the massive glass cupola no less — is radically different from the ones you find on Earth. In the simplest terms, they are two vacuum tubes for sucking up pee and poop that rely on suction fans to remove waste.

We don’t know exactly what the issue was yet with the Waste Management System, but it involved the suction fan, according to Reed. It’s also unclear whether the malfunction had anything to do with the surprising decision not to release photos or videos inside the spaceship during the journey.

Inspiration4 was a little different than preceding Crew Dragon flights. The crew spent three whole days in the tiny capsule instead of less than 24 hours, the maximum length of a trip to the International Space Station.

Unfortunately, the crew wasn’t actually able to catch glimpses of the Earth while doing their business as the hatch had to be closed during toilet use, according to Space.com.

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The space tourists have yet to speak out about their toilet experience — but fortunately, it sounds like the issue was quickly resolved.

READ MORE: SpaceX’s private Inspiration4 astronauts had some toilet trouble in space [Space.com]

More on the launch: SpaceX Tourist Watches Movie While Careening Down to Earth

Futurism Readers: Find out how much you could save by switching to solar power at UnderstandSolar.com. By signing up through this link, Futurism.com may receive a small commission.

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