Silicon nitride demonstrates anti-viral properties against SARS-CoV-2 and kills virus within minutes of exposure.
By Dr. Sonny Bal, CEO SINTX technologies, inc.
In a recent study of the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers focused on one method to contract the coronavirus – that is if they touch a surface or object that has viral particles on it and then touch their mouth, nose, or eyes. The lifespan of the virus on a given surface depends on a myriad of factors, including the surrounding temperature, humidity, and type of surface.
Two recent studies (The Lancet Microbe, The New England Journal of Medicine) reveal how long the COVID-19 virus lasts on various common surfaces. Strikingly, the authors wrote, the coronavirus was still present on the outward-facing side of a surgical mask on day seven of the investigation. That’s the longest duration of all the materials they tested.
Surface viability of pathogenic viruses like SARS-CoV-2 can contribute to the risk of disease transmission. Antimicrobial surfaces that can spontaneously inactivate viruses are therefore of great interest and the basis of this idea.
SINTX Technologies has announced positive testing results which may be useful in the reduction of the spread of COVID-19. The study results demonstrated that SINTX’s unique grade of silicon nitride inactivates the SARS-CoV-2 virus within a minute after exposure and has the potential to decrease the risk of viral disease spread on surfaces. SINTX envisions incorporating its silicon nitride into high-contact surfaces such as masks, medical equipment, screens, countertops, and doorknobs in locations where viral persistence is a concern, such as homes, casinos, and cruise ships.
The study builds upon years of research toward understanding the basic biochemistry of silicon nitride, focused on biomedical implants, particularly for the spine. The antiviral attributes of silicon nitride are consistent with the known antibacterial behavior of silicon nitride. The results with coronavirus inactivation are likewise consistent with an earlier study that showed similar inactivation of other viruses, including Influenza A and Enterovirus, both of which cause human disease.
The study and testing results show promise toward developing a new category of face masks for healthcare professionals and general consumers. Face masks used by healthcare workers today can capture virus particles, but the virus can remain viable in the mask, even as long 7 days after use. Inclusion of silicon nitride technology into the mask may enhance personal safety while reducing the risk of disease spread.
The present study was done independently, with SINTX supplying its silicon nitride for the testing. The complete data and study can be downloaded at bioRxiv. Additional tests are underway at several U.S. research centers to further understand the isolation and optimization of the antiviral properties of silicon nitride.
Dr. Sonny Bal has served on the Board of Directors of SINTX Technologies since February 2012, and as Chairman of the Board since August 2014. In October 2014, he was appointed the CEO & President of SINTX Technologies.
Dr. Bal previously served as Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, and Adjunct Professor of Material Sciences at the University of Missouri. He has >20 years of clinical experience as an orthopedic surgeon and attorney and is affiliated with several professional organizations. In addition to serving on the editorial boards of peer-refereed journals, Dr. Bal has researched and published extensively in ceramic science and continues that work.
Dr. Bal holds an M.D. from Cornell University, an M.B.A. from Northwestern University, a J.D. from the University of Missouri, and a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from the Kyoto Institute of Technology.
About SINTX Technologies
SINTX Technologies is an OEM ceramics company that develops and commercializes silicon nitride for medical and non-medical applications. The core strength of SINTX Technologies is the manufacturing, research, and development of silicon nitride ceramics for external partners. The Company manufactures silicon nitride material and components in its FDA registered and ISO 13485 certified facility. For more information on SINTX Technologies or its silicon nitride material platform, please visit www.sintx.com.