Food Colorants to Fight COVID-19?


A recent report published in The Conversation highlights work by Purdue University's Biomedical Engineering Lab using U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved food colorants in the fight against COVID-19.

The researchers were inspired by photodynamic therapy to develop a means to neutralize lingering airborne viruses including COVID-19. As they explained, FDA-approved food coloring dyes can be used to react in visible light to generate oxygen free radicals. These are highly reactive and can trigger chemical reactions to kill pathogens.

Ultrasound was used to produce tiny aerosol particles of the dyes so they linger in the air where they can react. According to the report, these are barely visible and their short lifespan keeps them from staining surfaces. Taken together, the researchers produced a device, the Photodynamic Airborne Cleaner, which is believed to be the first of its kind to use photodynamic therapy for airborne disinfection.

Editor's note: While this report may be somewhat removed from cosmetics R&D, in my opinion, it is interesting to see FD&C colorants for this medical, and potentially life-saving, application.

For more information, see the full story.

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