Based on a timely publication funded by the NIH/NIAID/DARPA in the New England Journal of Medicine, it appears that copper may have a beneficial mitigation effect for both SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 and by extension, probably any future zoonotic coronavirus.  The potential benefit of copper caught the attention of a researcher utilizing an advanced form of copper- a high porosity 3-dimensional structure- in their solar energy research.  The technical benefits of copper in this 3D form would lend themselves to a high-efficiency dialysis-style therapeutic device, as well as for use in air filters for hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

Since kidney disease/disorders have among the highest co-morbidity rates when infected with Covid-19, it is worthy of studying whether this copper substrate can be adapted to a dialysis-style device to treat such patients. In addition to efficacy testing, there are some interesting optimization tests that involve evolutionary parameters of coronavirus integrated into the therapeutic process.  Through evolution, it is normal for viruses to select hosts wherein the virus can thrive without mass-destruction of the host and without rapid destruction of the virus. 

For example, the survival of SARS-CoV-2 and SAR-CoV-1 in the most likely host mammal (bats such as the horseshoe classification of bats (Genus Rhinolophus) that have been identified as hosting coronaviruses 80+% similar in genetic code to SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1) may have evolved because bats are largely nocturnal.  SARS coronaviruses, and other coronaviruses that have evolved to thrive in largely nocturnal hosts, may therefore be adversely affected by one or more constituents of the electromagnetic spectrum found in sunlight.  It would make for interesting and exciting science to determine which wavelength(s) of light would provide optimal coronavirus mitigation when focused with intensity on the porous copper substrate. Notably, this is a perfect combination as the porosity of these copper substrates make for outstanding reflection and refraction of light within their complex yet open matrices.

Bats are also known to have a very efficient circulatory system, with heart sizes that can be up to 3 times larger than an equivalent mass terrestrial mammal and heartbeat rate as high as 1,000 beats per minute.  One possible reason that coronaviruses, and in particular SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1, do not cause mass mortality in bats is that high circulatory rate prevents these viruses from taking sufficient hold to damage internal organs and tissues to the point of mortality.  This is further supported by the appearance of “Covid toe” in certain otherwise healthy human individuals; circulation of blood to the toes can be among the lowest flow rates in the human body, making it a tell-tale sign that coronaviruses such as Covid-19 may take hold in areas of low flow whereas said viruses may be less efficient at taking hold in areas of high flow. This evolutionary aspect would also help explain why blood-thinners can be a beneficial therapeutic. 

Incidentally, the high porosity of these copper substrates offer the potential for high flow rates of any fluid passing through them- and associated strong shearing forces as the fluid traverses through the tortuous 3D matrices. These shearing forces are likely to be additive to the natural disinfection ability of copper on coronavirus (which is most likely a type of oxidation/reduction mechanism due to copper’s penchant for electron transfer), and the potential for additional beneficial effect from one or more wavelengths of light in the electromagnetic spectrum.  

So, this research project can be thought of as utilizing a material found in nature (copper) together with human creativity to form it in the most useful way (high porosity form), while integrating what nature can teach us about the evolution of coronavirus in the host mammal. It is a very nature-centric approach that we can combine with human ingenuity to develop an effective solution. 

The above indicates there are some interesting pieces to this puzzle, and the solution would be a very worthy one.  This project needs help to put the pieces together and solve this puzzle to optimize/adapt this technology to this critical medical application.  Please contact us if you would like to collaborate!

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