An antiviral coating which could protect surfaces from coronavirus for 90 days has been developed by scientists.
The coating, called MAP-1, has taken 10 years to develop and can be sprayed on surfaces frequently used by the public, such as handrails and lift buttons to protect against coronaviruses, researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) say.
“These places are frequently touched, and, at the same time, serve as a very effective medium for transmission of diseases,” said HKUST adjunct professor Joseph Kwan, one of the chief researchers.
The spray-on coating is created from millions of nano-capsules containing disinfectants which remain effective in killing bacteria, viruses and spores even after it has dried, Prof Kwan said.
He said MAP-1’s efficacy is increased by heat-sensitive polymers that encapsulate and release disinfectants on human contact – unlike common disinfectants such as bleach or alcohol.
It is also non-toxic and safe for skin and the environment, researchers said.
MAP-1 was approved for official and mass consumer use in February after clinical tests at a Hong Kong hospital and care home earlier this year.
It will go on sale in Hong Kong shops next month and, with help from a charity, has been sprayed around the homes of more than a thousand low-income families in the city.
“I feel like it has strengthened our protection against the virus,” said Law Ha-yu, a mother-of-two living in a 110sq ft “coffin” home that was recently sprayed.
Shopping malls, schools and sports facilities across Hong Kong have been using the coating as well, according to researchers.
To spray an entire school it costs £2,050-£5,130, depending on its size.
Germagic, a unit of the university’s industrial partner, Chiaphua Industries Ltd, is planning on introducing 50ml and 200ml versions for domestic use, with prices ranging from £70-£25.
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