Anti-viral organic coatings for high touch surfaces

SARS-CoV-2 virus remains viable on solid surfaces for up to one week. In presence of soil load, pure copper fails to inactivate the virus.  A paintable organic coating liberates Cu2+ by ion-exchange and has antiviral properties.

A door handle with stylised bacteria
The ideal material or coating should be activated under artificial light conditions to impact indoor areas Image source: denisismagilov - (symbol image).

Copper has well documented antiviral propertied. However practical deployment of copper surfaces has been limited due to the associated costs and the incompatibility of copper metal in specific environments and conditions. Researchers have therefore developed an organic coating containing an intelligent-release Cu2+ pigment based on a cation exchange resin. Organic coatings containing a 50 % weight or higher loading of smart-release pigment were capable of completely inactivating SARS-CoV-2 within 4 h of incubation. Importantly these organic coatings demonstrated a significantly enhanced ability to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 compared to metallic copper and un-pigmented material.

Cost effective and rapidly deployed

Furthermore, the presence of contaminating proteins inhibited the antiviral activity of metallic copper, but the intelligent-release Cu2+ pigment was unaffected. According rto the researchers, the approach of using a very basic paint system, based on a polymer binder embedded with “smart release” pigment containing an anti-viral agent which is liberated by ion-exchange, holds significant promise as a cost effective and rapidly deployed coating to confer virus inactivating capability to high touch surfaces.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 172, November 2022.

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