A biocide is defined in the European legislation as “a chemical substance or microorganism intended to destroy, deter, render harmless, or exert a controlling effect on any harmful organism”. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses a slightly different definition for biocides as “a diverse group of poisonous substances including preservatives, insecticides, disinfectants, and pesticides used for the control of organisms that are harmful to human or animal health or that cause damage to natural or manufactured products”. When compared, the two definitions roughly imply the same, although the US EPA definition includes plant protection products and some veterinary medicines.

Biocides are commonly used in medicine, agriculture, forestry, and industry. Biocidal substances and products are also employed as anti-fouling agents or disinfectants under other circumstances.

Infectious disease management has become an increasing challenge in recent years. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, microbial infections are a top concern. Pathogenic microorganisms are of main concern in hospitals and other healthcare locations, as they affect the optimal functioning of medical devices, surgical devices, bone cements, etc.

There is a great concern about the rapid spread of pathogens, such as SARS-CoV-2, that can coexist with a broad range of other types of clinically relevant microorganisms, including those which are multidrug-resistant. Therefore, the co-infection of SARS-CoV-2 with other viruses, bacteria, or fungi constitutes a real life-threatening situation to humans during the following years.

Nowadays the market is offering products based on zinc, copper, iron and silver. And graphene related layered materials could be the basis of several technologies to diminish the impact of virus-related pandemics. The synergistic effect decorating the graphene-based material with nanoparticles offers a novel material to the biocide market.

New materials offer a promising biocide strategy as they can kill or inhibit microbial growth on their surface or within the surrounding environment with superior efficacy, low toxicity and minimized environmental problems.

The biocidal effect of these surfaces was evaluated against pathogens from bacteria sources (gram positive and negative models) and a viral model (escherichia coli, staphylococcus aureus and bacteriophage MS2) following the BS EN ISO22196 testing protocol.

Fig. 1 Optically transparent antimicrobial coatings developed using Gnanomat’s hybrid nanomaterials.

The biocide effect was also observed either with long (24 hours of pathogen exposure to treated surface) and short (1 hour of exposure) with a reduction of up to three levels of magnitude (99.9% pathogen inactivation).

In this study, not only was the biocide functionality confirmed, but more importantly, wide biocidal pathogen scope was demonstrated.

Gnanomat´s materials are not only functional but also industrially viable, since they can be produced through industrial manufacturing processes, in contrast to other alternatives.

This situation has arisen a new interest and demand for biocide solutions and products. Among the new solutions researched by the industry, the carbon-based materials, and especially graphene, show relevant results.

Gnanomat´s hybrid materials have also been tested successfully in a laboratory environment, inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The Report concludes that the results show that Gnanomat`s hybrid materials significantly inhibited viral infection and confirms that these materials possess antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2.

The following step is to comply with the regulation depending on the final application and usage. For biocidal applications, registration of a new active substance, regulated by the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) in the EU enforced by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), or by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US.