2021-006 – Broad Antimicrobial Compounds capable of Inactivating ssRNA Viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2


As we all know, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak of 2019 has officially been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The virus, which is believed to spread via respiratory droplets and by viral contamination of surfaces, has already affected more than 15 million people globally, causing more than half a million deaths. Currently, there is no cure or vaccine proven to be effective against the virus. While vaccines are in development, they typically rely on specific antigen-immune interactions, and there is concern that SARS-CoV-2 strains will mutate over time to render any vaccine ineffective against future outbreaks. SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense ssRNA virus possessing an envelope that can serve not only to protect the inner machinery of the virus but can also evolve to elude detection and treatment. For many enveloped viruses, there is no prophylactic or therapeutic treatment. Although the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and avoidance of indoor congregation could inhibit the spread of the virus, such measures are impeded by the shortage of equipment supplies. Hence, there is a need for antimicrobial agents for use in materials and methods that destroy, inactivate, or reduce the spread of viruses via surface contact and air. Incorporating mechanisms that are not vulnerable to mutation-derived resistance is also of utmost importance for preventing and killing SARS-CoV-2.

Technology Description

Researchers at the University of New Mexico and the University of Texas at San Antonio have developed a class of novel compounds that have shown remarkable light-activated biocidal activity against a broad spectrum of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, spores and fungi. The compounds provide a method of destroying, inactivating, reducing the virality of, or otherwise inhibiting the activity of an enveloped ssRNA virus, such as SARS-CoV-2. Due to their unique characteristics, the compounds show promising selectivity, where at concentrations that induce significant toxicities in bacteria and viruses, they exhibit low toxicity to mammalian cells. Motivated by a desire to find a better method for disinfection and combat infectious diseases, the researchers have focused on utilizing these compounds to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 viability on a substrate, such as a fabric, a work surface, a medical device, packaging materials, or personal protective equipment, and in circulated air.


  • Does not cause antibiotic resistance and is effective against antibiotic resistant bacteria tested in the lab
  • Can be utilized to coat hard surfaces providing disinfectant protection for extended periods
  • May be incorporated into fabrics for a wide variety of applications such as masks or other PPE
  • Simple method of application when incorporated into wipes, sprays, cleaning solutions, and various coating techniques
  • Can be used as disinfectants in schools, offices, air filtration systems, meeting rooms as cleaning agents, etc.

Potential Applications

  • Decontamination
  • Disinfectant
  • Antimicrobial Treatments
    • Hospital Garments
    • Medical Devices
    • Filtration Systems
    • Surgical Instruments

Contact Information

Name: Gregg Banninger

Email: GBanninger@innovations.unm.edu

Phone: 505-272-7908