Singapore-based technology company Nanoveu (ASX: NVU) has reported positive results from independent testing of its anti-viral smartphone screen and cover prototype, showing it to be effective against a coronavirus strain emerging from mice.
Conducted by the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine within the National University of Singapore, the tests involved placing a solution containing mouse-based murine hepatitis virus (MHV-A59) – believed to be a surrogate of human coronavirus 229E – on a thin film of Nanoveu’s antiviral technology.
The results showed the number of viable or infectious coronavirus particles was reduced by 90% in 10 minutes.
Previous testing of Nanoveu’s in-house developed technology has confirmed it to be effective against influenza virus H3N2, feline calicivirus (F9 strain), and bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli).
According to Nanoveu, the Singapore tests are considered “highly significant” as they demonstrate the effectiveness of the company’s technology against a wide number of viruses.
Nanoveu executive chairman and chief executive officer Alfred Chong said this is due to broad similarities in structure and genus variety between MHV-A59 and human coronaviruses.
“From a structural perspective, all coronaviruses exhibit a large viral envelope, which is a layer of proteins derived from former host cells that shield the viral genome when outside host environments,” he said.
“Our technology is capable of breaking down this envelope, effectively killing the virus.”
The effectiveness of the testing method on one strain of enveloped virus suggests Nanoveu’s technology may be effective against a whole family of viruses.
Additional testing of the anti-viral smartphone cover is currently being conducted at a US laboratory.
Nanoveu said it will test the technology against coronavirus OC43, which is a beta-coronavirus (a single-strand RNA virus emerging from animals) shown to infect human hosts and is a known cause of the common cold.
Nanoveu believes its anti-viral nanotechnology has the potential to become a major player in an established market due to its innate properties.
“Other commercially-available anti-viral products require repeated UV light treatment applied by the user, which is time-intensive and can only offer temporary results,” Mr Chong said.
“We believe the mobile screen protection market represents a substantial opportunity, offering strong potential for the new antiviral products.”
Nanoveu is investigating potential mass production for a variety of different phone shapes and sizes utilising an existing supply chain to accelerate product development and production to reduce the time typically required to bring a new product to market.
Mobile phone safety
Mr Chong said Nanoveu’s anti-viral smartphone screen is set to revolutionise safety for mobile phone users.
“The tests further validate our inherent value proposition [that the screen is] a timely product in today’s evolving world impacted by COVID-19,” he said.
“We are thrilled to be able to demonstrate that our phone protection technology can reduce active coronavirus particles by a factor of 10 in just 10 minutes.”
He said the company is also developing a conventional protective phone case layered with the same material as the screen protector.
Both products are expected to be available for sale by early 2021.
At midday, shares in Nanoveu were trading 185% higher at $0.14.