SARS-CoV-2 research with chitosan – Publications to date

The corona virus disease COVID-19 has changed the world. To combat the pandemic, researchers and companies around the world are working to develop vaccines and medicines. Chitosan also has potential in the area of vaccine development and functionalization of protective equipment such as respirators. We have prepared summaries of recent publications on chitosan as an aid in the fight against corona.

Tags: chitosan, virus, Vaccines, vaccine production, SARS-CoV-2, Covid

To date, 10 articles have been published with the keywords chitosan and SARS-CoV-2 (source:, as of 03/18/2021). The authors of the studies are conducting research in Poland, Scotland, USA, Iran, Egypt, Canada, India, China, and Malaysia. The applications of chitosan in combating SARS-CoV-2 are diverse and promising.

Highly Conserved Homotrimer Cavity Formed by the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein: A Novel Binding Site.

Kalathiya U, Padariya M, Mayordomo M, Lisowska M, Nicholson J, Singh A, Baginski M, Fahraeus R, Carragher N, Ball K, Haas J, Daniels A, Hupp TR, Alfaro JA. J Clin Med. 2020 May 14;9(5):1473. doi: 10.3390/jcm9051473.

Binding of the spike (S) protein to the host cell ACE2 receptor is an important step in SARS-CoV-2 infection. The authors investigated the identification of potential targets of the spike protein for drug treatments. The homotrimer cavity was identified as a potential drug target through which chitosan, among other drugs, could induce inhibition of SARS-CoV-2.


Underscoring the immense potential of chitosan in fighting a wide spectrum of viruses: A plausible molecule against SARS-CoV-2?

Sharma N, Modak C, Singh PK, Kumar R, Khatri D, Singh SB.Int J Biol Macromol. 2021 Feb 16;179:33-44. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.02.090. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33607132 Free PMC article. Review.

The review presents literature data on the antiviral activity of chitosan and chitosan derivatives and speculates on the possibility of using chitosan against SARS-CoV-2.


HTCC as a Polymeric Inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV.

Milewska A, Chi Y, Szczepanski A, Barreto-Duran E, Dabrowska A, Botwina P, Obloza M, Liu K, Liu D, Guo X, Ge Y, Li J, Cui L, Ochman M, Urlik M, Rodziewicz-Motowidlo S, Zhu F, Szczubialka K, Nowakowska M, Pyrc K. J Virol. 2021 Jan 28;95(4):e01622-20. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01622-20. Print 2021 Jan 28.

The study examined the antiviral effectiveness of HTCC (N- (2-hydroxypropyl) -3-trimethylammonium chitosan chloride) in vitro and ex vivo against the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV. The authors used chitosan (molecular weight 250 ± 100 kDa, degree of deacetylation 83%) and glycidyltrimethylammonium chloride to produce polymers with a degree of substitution of 57, 62, 63 and 77%. The inhibitory effect of HTCC against SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV viruses was tested in vitro with Vero and Vero 6 cells, as well as ex vivo on human airway epithelium (HAE). Learn more.


A review on chitosan and its development as pulmonary particulate anti-infective and anti-cancer drug carriers.

Rasul RM, Tamilarasi Muniandy M, Zakaria Z, Shah K, Chee CF, Dabbagh A, Rahman NA, Wong TW. Carbohydr Polym. 2020 Dec 15;250:116800. doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2020.116800. Epub 2020 Aug 18.

Chitosan is a promising drug delivery system for pulmonary applications and is therefore of particular interest for vaccine development in the Corona Pandemic. The biodegradable and biocompatible polymer’s mucoadhesive, permeation-increasing and site-/cell-specific properties are useful in this context. Nanocarriers based on various microencapsulation and micro-nano mixing systems have already been developed. The aerodynamic character is important to enable efficient pulmonary aerosol formation and inhalation. Learn more.


Localized and Systemic Immune Responses against SARS-CoV-2 Following Mucosal Immunization.

Chandrasekar SS, Phanse Y, Hildebrand RE, Hanafy M, Wu CW, Hansen CH, Osorio JE, Suresh M, Talaat AM. Vaccines (Basel). 2021 Feb 6;9(2):132. doi: 10.3390/vaccines9020132.

The global spread of SARS-CoV-2 can only be contained through vaccine development. Vector vaccines (DNA and viral) can be produced rapidly and inexpensively with current synthesis technologies. Challenges with DNA vaccines include degradation by DNases, inefficient uptake by antigen-presenting cells, and low immunogenicity. The Quil-A-loaded chitosan particulate adjuvant system (QAC) enables transport of plasmid DNA directly to target cells and delayed release over time. Here, we present two recent studies about chitosan-based delivery systems for vaccines. Learn more.


A nanoscale genosensor for early detection of COVID-19 by voltammetric determination of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) sequence of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Farzin L, Sadjadi S, Sheini A, Mohagheghpour E. Mikrochim Acta. 2021 Mar 10;188(4):121. doi: 10.1007/s00604-021-04773-6.

Development of a sensor for early diagnosis of COVID-19 by determining the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) sequence of SARS-COV-2.


Positively Charged Electroceutical Spun Chitosan Nanofibers Can Protect Health Care Providers From COVID-19 Infection: An Opinion.

Hathout RM, Kassem DH. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2020 Aug 18;8:885. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2020.00885. eCollection 2020.


A novel concept for treatment and vaccination against Covid-19 with an inhaled chitosan-coated DNA vaccine encoding a secreted spike protein portion.

Tatlow D, Tatlow C, Tatlow S, Tatlow S. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2020 Nov;47(11):1874-1878. doi: 10.1111/1440-1681.13393. Epub 2020 Sep


Induction of Potent and Durable Neutralizing Antibodies Against SARS-CoV-2 Using a Receptor Binding Domain-Based Immunogen.

Srivastava V, Niu L, Phadke KS, Bellaire BH, Cho MW. Front Immunol. 2021 Mar 11;12:637982. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.637982. eCollection 2021.

In this study, mice were immunized with recombinant RBD antigen (receptor binding domain of spike glycoprotein) using three different adjuvants (Zn-chitosan, Alhydrogel, and Adju-Phos) and the formation of antibodies was monitored for 5 months.