The researchers have developed a surface coating, which, when painted on common objects like doorknobs or light switches, can inactivate SARS-CoV-2 in one hour, the virus that causes COVID-19.
According to the study, published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, the results of the tests have been outstanding.
When the coating is painted on glass or stainless steel, the amount of virus is reduced by 99.9 percent in one hour, compared to the uncoated sample.
“The idea is when the droplets land on a solid object, the virus within the droplets will be inactivated,” said study researcher William Ducker from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the US.
“One hour is the shortest period that we have tested so far, and tests at shorter periods are ongoing,” Ducker added.
“We have to use our chemical knowledge and experience of other viruses to guess what would kill it (SARS-CoV-2),” the study author wrote.
Since mid-April, Ducker has been working with Leo Poon, a researcher at the University of Hong Kong, to test the film’s success at inactivating the virus.
For the findings, the research team spread three different kinds of coatings on glass and stainless steel. Then, they shipped the samples to Poon.
Results have shown that the coating is robust. It does not peel off after being slashed with a razor blade.
It also retains its ability to inactivate the virus after multiple rounds of being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and then disinfection or after being submerged in water for a week, based on the tests.
If the project’s success continues, it is a significant discovery in fighting the virus’ spread.
Now, the research team hopes to attract funding in order to mass-produce the coating film.
“To be sure, the film doesn’t replace other safety measures that people should take to stop the spread of the coronavirus, such as hand washing, physical distancing, and wearing a mask,” the study author wrote.
“People won’t have to worry as much about touching objects, it will be both practical and reducing fear,” they noted.