Graphene might be useful in the fight against coronavirus according to one of the sector's foremost entrepreneurs.
J Patrick Franz, the founder and chief executive of materials group PlanarTECH says research papers written in China over the last four years identified graphene oxide as a potentially effective anti-viral agent.
Though none of the studies targeted the same pathogen responsible for the current coronavirus outbreak, Frantz says the conclusion is that graphene oxide may offer a platform to fight a variety of viral infections (such as the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus) and possibly in the form of a coating.
More work needs to be done to test this idea, Frantz says, but he points to a recent collaboration between Haydale Graphene Industries PLC (LON:HAYD) and Korea-based ICraft to develop a graphene cosmetic face mask.
“It is not such a great conceptual leap to go from a cosmetic face mask to a protective face mask," suggests Frantz.
PlanarTECH currently is undertaking a crowdfunding round through the Seedrs platform to raise money to develop applications for graphene oxide including as a possible anti-viral, though Frantz says a product is realistically 1-2 years away.