The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic represents an unprecedented public health concern. The virus that causes COVID-19, known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is responsible for the infection of more than 21.8 million individuals and more than 772 thousand deaths in 216 countries, numbers which are still rising. Nanomaterials represent a powerful tool against COVID-19 since they can be designed to act directly toward the infection, increase the effectiveness of conventional antiviral drugs, or even to trigger the immune response of the patient. Advances in nanotechnology over the past decades allow us to develop new nanomaterials and step forward in the application of new technological tools.
Nanomaterials are materials with Nanoscale dimensions where the surface or interface properties dominate over the bulk properties. The very large surface area of these nanomaterials may result in novel physical and chemical properties, such as increased catalytic activity, improved solubility or different optical behavior. Nanomaterials are already found in a wide variety of consumer products, such as textiles, paints, sunscreens and other healthcare products. Intensive research is being done in the use of nanomaterials for energy storage and energy conversion, pharmaceuticals, life science applications, solar cells, catalysis, and composite materials, etc. Nanoparticle size distribution and nanoparticle shape, surface properties and dispersion, aggregation stability as well as over elemental and Nano crystalline composition is often crucial for designing new materials for specific applications.
Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) combines engineering, physics and chemistry principles to solve real-world problems associated with nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, energy, manufacturing and other major engineering disciplines. Everything is made of something. Materials scientists investigate how materials perform and why they sometimes fail. By understanding the structure of matter, from atomic scale to millimeter scale, they invent new ways to combine chemical elements into materials with unprecedented functional properties.
Nanomaterials are of interest because at this scale unique optical, magnetic, electrical, and other properties emerge. These emergent properties have great potential applications in electronics, medicine, and other fields. Nanomaterials are classified into nanostructured and Nanophase/nanoparticle materials. There are several important applications of nanomaterials such as aviation and space, chemical industry, optics, solar hydrogen, fuel cell, batteries, sensors, power generation, aeronautic industry, building/construction industry, automotive engineering, consumer electronics, thermoelectric devices, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetic industry. One of the most pressing challenges of our time is to find alternative energy sources which are environmentally friendly which is depending on the use of nanomaterials in different applications such as solar cells, paints, and other applications in the field of green chemistry.
The field of biotechnology is focused on basic research into the mechanisms of disease toward the development of new therapeutic and diagnostic devices. Bio nanotechnology applications within biotechnology include the development of microfluidic devices for high throughput drug discovery assays, nanotechnology-based drug delivery devices, genome sequencing, proteomics, and imaging. A therapeutic is chemically attached to the nanoparticle. Radio or magnetic signals are then used to guide it to its target in the body. Precisely targeted drug delivery enhances efficacy and side effects due to off-target activity. Gene delivery is another area of active research in bio nanotechnology.