Graphene Sheets with Defined Dual Functionalities for the Strong SARS-CoV-2 Interactions
I. S. Donskyi, C. Nie, K. Ludwig, J. Trimpert, R. Ahmed, E. Quaas, K. Achazi, J. Radnik, M. Adeli, R. Haag and K. Osterrieder – 2021
Search of new strategies for the inhibition of respiratory viruses is one of the urgent health challenges worldwide, as most of the current therapeutic agents and treatments are inefficient. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a pandemic and has taken lives of approximately two million people to date. Even though various vaccines are currently under development, virus, and especially its spike glycoprotein can mutate, which highlights a need for a broad-spectrum inhibitor. In this work, inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 by graphene platforms with precise dual sulfate/alkyl functionalities is investigated. A series of graphene derivatives with different lengths of aliphatic chains is synthesized and is investigated for their ability to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 and feline coronavirus. Graphene derivatives with long alkyl chains (>C9) inhibit coronavirus replication by virtue of disrupting viral envelope. The ability of these graphene platforms to rupture viruses is visualized by atomic force microscopy and cryogenic electron microscopy. A large concentration window (10 to 100-fold) where graphene platforms display strongly antiviral activity against native SARS-CoV-2 without significant toxicity against human cells is found. In this concentration range, the synthesized graphene platforms inhibit the infection of enveloped viruses efficiently, opening new therapeutic and metaphylactic avenues against SARS-CoV-2.