A team from Canada’s University of Waterloo has determined that a thin-film coating of copper or copper compounds on surfaces could potentially inactivate or destroy SARS-CoV2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.

To make this determination, the researchers examined the effectiveness of six different thin metal and oxide coatings and how they interacted with HCov-229E, a coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2.

Coatings 1,000 times thinner than a human hair were deposited onto glass and N95 mask fabric. The coated fabric and glass were then immersed in a viral solution or exposed to droplets of the viral solution. Once the virus was removed from the coating, each extract was then put within reach of healthy cells and observed for its ability to replicate.

Researchers determined that the other coatings did not have the same antiviral effects as the copper or the copper-containing compound coatings demonstrated.

More so, the researchers discovered that "nanoscale thin films of copper can come off from the surface and rapidly dissolve in virus-containing droplets, enhancing the virucidal effect." As such, the researchers suggest that the coating could potentially be modified to enhance its interaction with the viral droplet and the antiviral effect.

Ultimately, the researchers envision using the antiviral coating featuring the copper as another layer of protection on face masks and high traffic surfaces.

The study, Effectiveness of antiviral metal and metal oxide thin-film coatings against human coronavirus 229E, appears in the journal APL Materials.

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