Coating spray uses 'nanoworms' to kill COVID-19
An antiviral surface coating technology developed at The University of Queensland could provide an extra layer of protection against COVID-19 and the flu.
The water-based coating uses worm-like structures to attack the virus and could serve as a barrier against transmission on surfaces and face masks.
The coating was developed with Boeing as a joint research project, and was tested at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at The University of Melbourne, with research published in ACS Nano.
UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology researcher Professor Michael Monteiro said, “When surgical masks were sprayed with these ‘nanoworms’, it resulted in complete inactivation of the Alpha variant of Sars-CoV-2 and influenza A.”
“These polymer ‘nanoworms’ rupture the membrane of virus droplets transmitted through coughing, sneezing or saliva and damage their RNA,” Professor Monteiro said.
“The chemistry involved is versatile, so the coating can be readily redesigned to target emerging viruses and aid in controlling future pandemics.” Professor Monteiro said face masks would continue to be an important part of helping prevent or reduce community transmission of COVID-19.
“Antiviral coatings applied on mask surfaces could reduce infection and provide long-lasting control measures to eliminate both surface and aerosolised transmission,” he said.
“We know that COVID-19 remains infectious for many hours or days on some surfaces, and provides a direct route to infection.
“Therefore, there is greater emphasis on eliminating both surface and airborne transmission to complement vaccination of the population to stop the current pandemic.”
The coating is said to be environmentally friendly and water-based, and its synthesis aligns with manufacturing techniques used in the paint and coatings industry.
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