MRS Advances: Materials Advances in Application to COVID-19 Related Challenges

Turning an unprecedented global crisis into technological progress.

Historically, risks posed by emerging pathogens and potential environmental hazards have been detected, assessed, and managed only after a substantial number of individuals have been affected. The ongoing global pandemic of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, responsible for causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has exposed the latent need for early and rapid monitoring of emergent threats, and efficient engineering of customized solutions to assess, manage, and mitigate the contagious spread. Coupled with that urgent need are the requirements of ensuring compliance with regulation, technical feasibility of high throughput manufacturing, and economic viability.

Materials science plays a unique role in responding to the challenges imposed by the pressures of the current pandemic – a swift and uncontrolled spread of contagious agents, the need to provide rapid testing as well as large volumes of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the urgency to develop antiviral drugs and vaccines. This MRS Advances special issue presents a selection of clever developments that put forward a variety of materials, characterization, processing, and treatments. The authors explore selected alternatives for rapid and real-time testing, reduction of viral transmission by surface modifications and treatments, and evaluation of disinfection procedures for PPE optimization.

The “COVID era” should be remembered as the most powerful call for the scientific community to reflect upon how research is approached and the ultimate responsibility we hold to society, which goes far beyond the publication of research findings. It is hoped that the current crisis might serve to inspire a stronger commitment to collaboration with diverse players and advanced scientific knowledge, while maintaining a practical human-based focus, yielding insights that help to mitigate global challenges by the active integration of cost analysis, regulatory compliance, and scalability validation at the earliest stages of lab-bench research.

Click here to access the issue!

Susana Diaz-Amaya PhD.

Head of Innovation Center – Bayer R&D Services LLC

Guest Editor.

This issue is to be freely accessible.