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High performance new antimicrobial polymeric materials: structure/activity relationships achievement and use


The emergency of new infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, reinforces the need to control and fight pathogenic microorganisms. Along with vaccines and drugs, antimicrobial polymeric materials can play a relevant role in this area. It has been demonstrated that polymeric materials may present intrinsic and direct (by contact) antimicrobial activity against bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, even in vivo. Moreover, polymers may be used to make artifacts with antimicrobial properties as chirurgical masks and coated surfaces that help to mitigate contamination in the hospital environment or not. It has been largely demonstrated that cationic polymers are prone to present antibacterial activity and anionic, antiviral. Besides that general behavior, the combination of different repetitive units and how they are dispersed over the chains also influence the antimicrobial effect as well as may lead to new properties like better solubility, mechanical properties, adhesion an so on, open up a myriad of new applications. In that context, here we propose to synthesize new polymeric materials via RAFT with systematic variations on the average molar mass, architecture, and composition, oriented towards the antimicrobial activity, in order to reach relationships connecting those characteristics and the desired property. Antibacterial and antiviral activities will be determined by standard tests and the polymers will be synthesized with regular monomers to reduce the complexity and the costs of the approach. The use of RAFT is justified here because it allows the design and control of isolated characteristics, such as molar mass and architecture, so that a systematic study of the influence on the properties, such as antimicrobial effect, becomes really feasible. It is a major aim of this project to facilitate the path to obtain antimicrobial polymers with high activity by the accumulation of new knowledge on the influence of the chains structure and that effect, as well as to elucidate, even partially, the mechanism of action involved on such activity. (AU)

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