Scientists in India report that they plan to carry out a number of research projects aimed at generating products that could be used for the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19 infections. Originating in the Department of Biotechnology’s Center of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing (DBT-CIAB) at Mohali, the plan has been designed to take advantage of the expertise of its researchers, who come from a diverse range of backgrounds, including chemistry, chemical engineering, biotechnology, molecular biology, nutrition, and nanotechnology.

For the prevention program the investigators will focus on lignin-derived noble metal nanocomplexes for developing antiviral coating materials and rose oxide-enriched citronella oil, carbopol, and triethanolamine formulated alcoholic sanitizer. Under the therapeutics platform, the effort will be work on polypyrrollic photosensitizers and their nanoformulations for antiviral photodynamic therapy, microbial production of immunomodulatory and antiviral fructan biomolecules, and the development and commercial manufacturing of a nasal spray kit to ease chest congestion suffered in coronavirus patients.

A drug discovery team will explore the separation of therapeutic and medicinal components from the peel and seeds of fruits and utilize natural garlic essential oil as an ACE 2 protein inhibitor for preventing COVID-19 infection. Studies will also be conducted for the development of lignin-derived nanocarriers (LNCs) with the potential for antiviral drug delivery and for using curcumin-fortified whey protein powder as a nutraceutical.

The researchers’ goal is to develop products that are biocompatible, low cost, and scalable and have set a timeline of six months to one year. The studies will be conducted in collaboration with chemical industries and other government labs with a BSL-3 facility.