Science

Virginia Tech professor designs surface coating that can inactivate Covid

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on July 17, 2020 Published on July 17, 2020

Virginia Tech has claimed that its chemical engineering professor, William Ducker, has designed a new surface coating that has the potential to inactivate the COVID-19 virus.

The new coating can be painted on doorknobs, light switches, and shopping carts among others to disinfect them in an hour.

“The idea is when the droplets land on a solid object, the virus within the droplets will be inactivated,” Ducker said in the Institute’s official release.

Ducker, along with Leo Poon, a professor, and researcher at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health, has been developing the coating since mid-April.

Ducker has been working to test the film’s success at inactivating the virus. Their research was published on July 13 in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, a scientific journal for chemists, engineers, biologists, and physicists, Virginia Tech mentioned.

“One hour is the shortest period that we have tested so far, and tests at shorter periods are ongoing,” Ducker said.

The institution noted that results have shown that the coating is robust. It does not peel off after being slashed with a razor blade. It also retains its ability to inactivate the virus after multiple rounds of being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and then being disinfected, or after being submerged in water for a week, based on the tests.

If the project’s success continues, it is a significant discovery in fighting the virus’ spread.

“Everybody is worried about touching objects that may have the coronavirus,” said Ducker, who recalled that his wife, in March, questioned whether she should sit on a park bench during the pandemic. “It would help people to relax a little bit.”

Now, Ducker said he hopes to attract funding in order to mass-produce the film.

To be sure, the film doesn’t replace other safety measures that people should take to stop the spread of the coronavirus, such as handwashing, physical distancing, and wearing a mask.

Even so, “people won’t have to worry as much about touching objects,” Ducker said. “It will be both practical and reducing fear.”

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Published on July 17, 2020
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