Science

Researchers to develop a line of anti-Covid products to curb infection

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 24, 2020 Published on October 24, 2020

Representative Image   -  South_agency

Researchers at the University of Birmingham have launched a project to develop household sprays and other products that can help in the prevention of the novel coronavirus, as per the report published in EurekAlert!.

The project spans over the next 18 months. The researchers aim to formulate additives that can be incorporated into household cleaning products or used to coat products at point of manufacture to provide an invisible film that can capture Covid-19 aerosol droplets and inactivate the virus.

For their trials, the team has been granted £642,000 funding from the United Kingdom Research and Innovation to develop the products, which are expected to be in production with 18 months.

The research is being conducted with the collaboration of the University of Cambridge and three key industrial partners: Dupont Tejin Film, Innospec, and Fiberlean.

Projects

Dupont Tejin is a leading manufacturer of plastic packaging and films. Innospec develops and manufactures chemicals and chemical additive. Fiberlean is a global manufacturer of cellulose nanofibers, used in packaging to add strength.

In the first phase of the development, the researchers will examine various surfaces and their reaction to Covid-19.

Earlier studies have shown that characteristics, including porosity, rigidity, and roughness, affect the virus's viability and the team aims to use their knowledge of these in their product development stages.

Jason Zhang, project lead in the University of Birmingham's School of Chemical Engineering, explained: "We already know that Covid-19 is transmitted via aerosol droplets that work to contain and protect the virus. The products we are developing will break down that protective coating, leaving the virus exposed and unable to survive for long.”

The team aims to employ two distinctive technologies. In the first, polymer additives with highly controlled properties will be used to make molecular films. Nanoscale additives will be also be used to absorb any protective mucus around the virus.

In the second alternative, the team will develop polymer technologies that can deactivate viruses when irradiated with light.

Dr Zhang stated in an official statement: "These products can be used at home, but also as part of routine cleaning in offices, on public transport or in hospitality venues. We're very excited to be working with our colleagues at the University of Cambridge and our industrial partners. We have the right expertise to make rapid and significant progress in this approach to combating the Covid-19 virus."

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Published on October 24, 2020
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