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Plasma treatment destroys Covid-19 on surfaces within 30 seconds: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 11, 2020 Published on November 11, 2020

Researchers from the University of California carried out a study to prove that plasma treatment could be a breakthrough in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

The study, published in the journal Physics of Fluids, by AIP Publishing, showed that strains of the novel coronavirus on surfaces like metal, leather, and plastic were killed in as little as 30 seconds of treatment with argon-fed, cold atmospheric plasma.

For the experiment, the researchers employed an atmospheric pressure plasma jet they built with a 3D printer to spray surfaces that were treated with SARS-CoV-2 cultures. The surfaces included plastic, metal, cardboard, and basketball, football, and baseball leather.

They observed that the spray using plasma fed by argon killed all the coronavirus on the six surfaces in less than three minutes. Most of the virus was destroyed after 30 seconds. Notably, further examinations showed the virus was destroyed in similar times on cotton from face masks.

Author of the study Richard E. Wirz said the findings show great potential for the use of plasma in halting the virus’s transmission cycle.

Wirz added: “This is only the beginning. We are very confident and have very high expectations for plasma in future work. In the future, a lot of answers for the scientific community will come from plasma.”

The researchers carried the same experiment using helium-fed plasma, but the helium was not effective, even with treatments up to five minutes.

The authors believe this was due to lower rates of reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen when using helium-fed gas, compared to argon.

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Published on November 11, 2020
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