Antibiotic ineffectiveness represents a global health issue that demands the development of drugs circumventing microbial resistance mechanisms and attacking new bacterial targets. Graphene oxide (GO), a precursor of large-scale graphene synthesis, is stable in water, and easy to functionalize with drugs and proteins. We investigated possible antibacterial mechanisms of GO related to its stability in solution and surface charge: GO sheets cut bacteria membranes in the absence of ions (i.e. dissolved in ultrapure water. In other solutions, the primary antibacterial mechanism is the wrapping and isolating bacteria from the external environment and nutrients. GO is also effective against coronavirus and can be used in fabrics to prevent virus growth. We also exploited GO large surface area to vehiculate drugs against several types of pathogens.

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