Plastic film capable of killing viruses that land on its surface with room light has been developed by researchers from Queen’s University Belfast.

The so-called self-sterilizing film is coated with a thin layer of particles that absorb ultraviolet (UV) light and thus produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) that kill viruses, according to the researchers.

Source: Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2022.112551Source: Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2022.112551

In the lab, the film was tested for anti-viral activity using two strains of influenza A virus, a picornavirus called EMCV and SARS-CoV-2. According to the researchers, all four different viruses were exposed to either UVA radiation or to light from a cool white light fluorescent lamp. The team determined that the film was effective against all four viruses even in environments illuminated by white fluorescent tubes alone.

The Queen’s University Belfast team suggests that the self-sterilizing film could be used to replace disposable plastic films used in the healthcare industry and also used on surfaces in food production factories.

The article detailing the film — Flexible, disposable photocatalytic plastic films for the destruction of viruses — appears in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology.

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