A chemical engineer at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) has developed a coating that can reportedly inactivate SARS CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — in just under an hour.

According to William Ducker, a chemical engineering professor at Virginia Tech, the film, which is a combination of cuprous oxide (Cu2O) particles bound with polyurethane, inactivated 99.9% of the SARS-CoV-2 virus when the coating was applied to glass and stainless-steel surfaces in the lab.

Additionally, the coating proved durable during testing, still inactivating the virus after objects coated with the film were submerged in water. Likewise, Professor Ducker reported that the film does not peel when tampered with.

Painted on everyday objects such as doorknobs, light switches and shopping cart handles, for instance, Professor Drucker believes the film could potentially slow the surface spread of the virus. Eventually, Drucker hopes to expedite the speed with which the virus is inactivated on treated surfaces, from one hour to mere minutes.

The research is detailed in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

The Virginia Tech coating is just one in a number of coatings being explored in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as concerns for surface transmissions of the virus prevail. Recently, researchers from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have developed an antimicrobial polymer coating that can inactivate bacteria, viruses and spores. Meanwhile, researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel are developing anti-viral nanoparticle coatings that show potential for preventing surface transmissions of SARS-CoV-2, which can reportedly live on surfaces for extended periods of time.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com