The breakthrough study, recently published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, has been conducted by Dr Alex Chin, investigator in Professor Leo Poon’s team, Co-Director of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, in collaboration with Professor William Ducker of the Department of Engineering at Virginia Tech, that developed the technology.
The joint research team has previously showed that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can retain on smooth surface such as stainless steel, glass, and plastic up to 2 to 4 days. Such contaminated surfaces can facilitate fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2. As a result of this recent collaboration, they have demonstrated a surface coating containing cuprous oxide (Cu2O) bound with polyurethane can inactivate SARS-CoV-2 by more than 99.9% in 1 hour. This surface coating can be easily applied to common materials such as metals and glass to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission via indirect contact.
The next step now according to the researchers will be to attract funding in order to mass-produce the coating.