Wed, Jul 22, 2009 - Page 2 News List

NTU unveils revolutionary ‘anti-bird flu’ compound

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A research team at National Taiwan University (NTU) yesterday unveiled a new chemical compound that could effectively break down the surface structures of H1N1 and other variants of bird flu viruses.

C.K. Lee (李世光), a professor at NTU’s Institute of Applied Mechanics, told a press conference that the university’s Nano-BioMEMS Group had spent the past six years analyzing the surface structures of viruses and focusing on finding a chemical compound that could break down both viruses and bacteria.

The group developed the NTU-VirusBom compound after numerous lab-controlled experiments, he said.

Lee said the group found that a small quantity of the compound — between 30 and 300 parts per million (ppm) — could effectively contain the H1N1 virus, adding that the compound was also found to be effective in breaking down the H5N1 and H5N2 viruses.

Lee said that application of the compound to Entrovirus 71 and Staphylococcus aureus — a common cause of chronic nosocomial infection — had also provided effective results.

The compound could be turned into disinfection sprays and used to sterilize a number of items such as clothes and furniture, Lee said.

“When the flu virus is transmitted, it can be suspended in the air for up to three hours, survive on the surface of a desk for between 24 and 48 hours or survive on our clothes for eight hours,” Lee said.

Adam Lee (李世元), a professor of chemistry at Tamkang University and a member of the team, said that although Taiwanese usually use diluted bleach as a disinfectant, medical research has yet to confirm that it can kill the H1N1 or avian flu virus.

“In addition, people are usually allergic to the chlorine in bleach, while the compound is not cytotoxic except in high concentrations [more than 1,000ppm],” Adam Lee said.

He said the team was on the way to being able to mass-produce the compound, adding that disinfectant made from the compound could be available on the market within two months.

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