Ca' Foscari University of Venice and Delphinus Biotech, an innovative Italian start-up, have collaborated on the research and development of a resistant disinfectant which eliminates bacteria and viruses (including coronavirus) and maintains active protection for several days on surfaces sprayed with it.
Thanks to an antiviral molecule of plant origin, both long-lasting and non-toxic to humans, recently developed by Delphinus Biotech, it may be possible to fight coronavirus in an ecofriendly manner. Alessandro Paparella, biologist at Delphinus Biotech explains: "The molecule, called Bellerofast, does not evaporate like common alcohol or chlorine-based disinfectants. The goal is to create a biological trap that isolates the virus and destroys its outer membrane. Our simulations tell us that the system works. Very soon we will be able to test Bellerofast on the actual virus in specialized laboratories in Padua and Trieste, and then, if all goes well, start production".
According to CEO Marco Cappellaro, "Delphinus Biotech intends to be an active part of the fight against the coronavirus. If the tests are successful, it will grant the Italian government the production license until the end of the national health emergency".
From the start of April, the company's team has been collaborating with the Ca’ Foscari biotechnology research group, led by Professor Alessandro Angelini, in the Beta building of the Scientific Campus of Mestre, to produce the molecules to be used in subsequent tests with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The biochemistry laboratory is equipped with all the necessary instrumentation to produce the molecule: a recombinant fusion protein, starting from two DNA fragments of vegetable origin that are cloned and joined into the new protein, which is subsequently reproduced and purified.
Ca’ Foscari is excited as well about the possibility of becoming an integral part of the solution to managing coronavirus. "The prospect of tackling the virus with scientific research and innovation caused us, within a few hours of the start-up's request, to draw up and sign the contract agreement and to have the biologists ready in the laboratory to work", says Pietro Riello, Director of the Department of Molecular Sciences and Nanosystems at Ca' Foscari. Indeed, both parties to this important collaborative effort see near-immediate and long-term application in Bellerofast in the fight against coronavirus and other health needs.