This professor just created a coating that can inactivate COVID-19 in just minutes

When we think about all of the many stressful elements associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, nothing can quite compete with the potential risk posed by surface contamination.

We can wear masks and sanitize our hands, (and we should be doing so rigorously ) but it’s virtually impossible to account for every object that might be secretly housing SARS-CoV-2 fomites.

In this oppressive news cycle, it might help to tee up some new good news with some old good news:

Contact-tracing research, premised by the current coronavirus pandemic as well as viral epidemics of the past, is fairly confident that an individual’s risk of becoming infected with a pathogen via a contaminated object is relatively uncommon.

“Based on data from lab studies on Covid-19 and what we know about similar respiratory diseases, it may be possible that a person can get Covid-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes,” the agency wrote. “But this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads,” the CDC reported in an updated risk assessment previously covered by Ladders.

Certainly, keep washing your hands, maintaining a six-feet distance between others, wearing your masks and carrying your hand sanitizers.

You would also do well to keep your eye out for a new surface coating that can inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 in as quickly as an one hour and even a few minutes in some cases.

The antiviral coating was recently developed by a team of researchers at Virginia Tech and the findings that supported its development were published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

“SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, remains viable on solids for periods of up to one week, so one potential route for human infection is via exposure to an infectious dose from a solid. We have fabricated and tested a coating that is designed to reduce the longevity of SARS-CoV-2 on solids,” the authors wrote in the new paper. “The coating consists of cuprous oxide (Cu2O) particles bound with polyurethane. After one hour on coated glass or stainless steel, the viral titer was reduced by about 99.9% on average compared to the uncoated sample. An advantage of a polyurethane-based coating is that polyurethane is already used to coat a large number of everyday objects.”

Without intervention, coronavirus droplets can remain active on packagings like milk containers and detergent bottles for roughly two to three days. 

The same is true of refrigerators, pots, pans, sinks, and water bottles. For most shipping boxes, SARS-COV-2 cannot survive more than 24 hours. This value decreases to four to eight hours when applied to aluminum cans, and tinfoil. 

The coronavirus funding our current pandemic can live on smartphone screens for as long as 96 hours or four full days. 

We come into contact with these items on a daily basis, which is why the Virginia Tech set to work on a counter-solve all the way back in mid-March.

The results have shown that the coating not only deactivates some coronavirus fomites between a few minutes to an hour, but It also doesn’t peel off after being slashed with a razor blade.

The compound employed has the ability to inactivate the virus after multiple rounds of being exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and then disinfection or after being submerged in water for a week, based on the tests.

Even if direct transmission from objects are infrequent, the more clinical receipts that stand between communities an infection, the quicker we can get the country back up and running.

“Our coating adheres well to glass and stainless steel, as well as everyday items that people may fear to touch during a pandemic, such as a doorknob, a pen, and a credit card keypad button,” the authors conclude. “The coating performs well in the cross-hatch durability test and remains intact and active after 13 days immersed in water, or after exposure to multiple cycles of exposure to virus and disinfection.”

Ahead of the coating release, remember that products composed of 60% alcohol,  62-71%  ethanol, 0.5%  hydrogen peroxide or 0.1 % sodium hypochlorite can deactivate infectious coronavirus material  in under 60 seconds.  

The study, A Surface Coating that Rapidly Inactivates SARS-CoV-2 was co-authored by Saeed Behzadinasab, Alex Chin, Mohsen Hosseini Leo L. M. Poo, and William A. Ducker.