Nissan's new technology set to inactivate viruses

nissan headquarters

Nissan has developed a technology that would inactivate viruses using catalyst active species for aerobic oxidation.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What institution served as Nissan partner in developing the new technology?

    Nissan's partner in the latest endeavor is Tohoku University’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
  • Where can the radical catalysts be found?

    Radical catalysts are used as additives in the polymer base materials of automotive paints, as well as in the fiber and organic polymer materials used in vehicle interiors and exteriors.
  • In a statement, the Japanese automaker said that the newfound technology was created in collaboration with Tohoku University’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

    According to Nissan, the newly-developed technology can disable viruses by oxidizing, denaturing and degrading proteins and other substances on the virus surface. “With oxygen in the air acting as an oxidant, the catalyst species produces this effect even under dark conditions at room temperature without requiring light irradiation, as is usually the case with oxidation,” Nissan explained.

    Nissan tech

    Apart from inactivating viruses (which include the dreaded novel coronavirus), Nissan’s technology works also on pathogens like fungi and bacteria and has the potential for wide-ranging applications in the future, including use as antibacterial and antiviral base materials in filters for air conditioning equipment, air purifiers, masks, and medical textile products.

    Nissan cited that the technology utilizes organic nitroxyl radical oxidation catalysts (radical catalysts). They use molecular oxygen in ambient air acting as a terminal oxidant in the presence of the proper co-catalysts to denature organic compounds.

    Studies of this technology’s effects showed that the oxoammonium salts generated from radical catalysts through aerobic oxidation inactivate viruses’ surface proteins, which reduces their ability to bind to target cells.

    “Furthermore, processing the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein of SARS-CoV2 (omicron strain) significantly reduces the binding of the spike protein to the receptor (see figure below). Using feline coronavirus — an alternative SARS-CoV2 virus —its infectious activity on feline renal cells was assessed and a notable inhibition of infection-related morphological changes in the cells was observed,” Nissan noted.

    Further, the technology was created by leveraging Nissan’s technologies and expertise in automotive development, and the Tohoku University faculty’s know-how on drug development, drug evaluation and other pharmaceutical sciences, catalyst preparation and catalyst performance evaluation.

    Radical catalysts are used as additives in the polymer base materials of automotive paints, as well as in the fiber and organic polymer materials used in vehicle interiors and exteriors. They inhibit photodegradation reactions such as cracking, embrittlement, and fading over long periods of time. 

    “Nissan has been researching and developing the use of radical catalysts to inactivate viruses in an effort to make the most of their catalytic activity and further contribute to society,” the company ended.

    Photos from Nissan

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