Friday 2 July 2021

Polymer approaches to reduce coronavirus infections


Polymers have been designed for effective virus inhibition and as antiviral drug delivery carriers. A new review summarizes recent progress and provides a perspective on polymer-based approaches for the treatment and prevention of coronavirus infection. 



Polymers can:


  • Prevent or inhibit the spread of a virus by providing a semipermeable barrier (e.g. mask or face-shield).
  • Interfere with binding to the glycoprotein surface of host cells.
  • Augment small molecular antiviral drug therapies.
  • Enhance the response of the immune system as a vaccine adjuvant.
  • At as a vehicle for other therapeutic molecules to improve the water solubility or stability of antiviral therapeutics.


Applications include integrating functional polymers into personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent the entrance of virus into the respiratory system; the cellular binding of viral particles at the alveoli can be inhibited using polyanion and polycation against viral S protein or angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors; and polymers could also be used to deliver antivirus drugs.


In addition, polymers could also be useful when being covalently combined with small-molecule drugs to form macromolecular prodrugs.


Furthermore, polymer-based vaccines or vaccine adjuvants can be used to prevent virus infection or even to boost the immune response during infection.


These polymer-based partners include polyanion/polycations, dendritic polymers, macromolecular prodrugs, and polymeric drug delivery systems that have the potential to significantly improve the efficacy of antiviral therapeutics.


For further information about the research, see Materials Today.


Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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