Scientists have developed a surface coating which when painted on common objects, such as door knobs, light switches, and shopping carts can inactivate the novel coronavirus which causes COVID-19, an innovation that may help stop the spread of the pandemic.
The research, published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, noted that after one hour on coated glass or stainless steel, levels of the virus reduced by about 99.9 per cent on average, compared to the uncoated sample.
According to the scientists, including those from Virginia Tech in the US, the coating adheres well to glass and stainless steel, as well as everyday items that people may fear to touch during a pandemic like doorknobs.
“The idea is when the droplets land on a solid object, the virus within the droplets will be inactivated,” said William Ducker, a co-author of the study from Virginia Tech. “One hour is the shortest period that we have tested so far, and tests at shorter periods are ongoing,” Ducker said.
The scientists hope to inactivate the virus in minutes.
Results have shown that the coating is robust, they said, adding that 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 virus, and then disinfection, or after being submerged in water for a week, the researchers said based on the tests.
“Everybody is worried about touching objects that may have the coronavirus,” said Ducker, adding that the invention “would help people to relax a little bit.”
The scientists however cautioned that the film doesn’t replace other safety measures that people should take to stop the spread of the coronavirus, such as handwashing, physical distancing, and wearing a mask.
Even so, “people won’t have to worry as much about touching objects. It will be both practical and reducing fear,” Ducker said.
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