Hong Kong scientists develop new antimicrobial coating to help combat COVID-19

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-11 22:12:41|Editor: huaxia

HONG KONG, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology announced on Wednesday that their researchers had developed a multilevel antimicrobial polymer (MAP-1) coating that can effectively kill viruses, bacteria and even hard-to-kill spores, and may also be effective against the COVID-19.

Developed by a team led by Yeung King Lun, a professor of the university's Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the Division of Environment and Sustainability, the new MAP-1 coating, using a special blend of anti-microbial polymers, is highly versatile with an effective period of up to 90 days.

The coating is designed for use on different surfaces including metals, concrete, wood, glass, plastics as well as fabrics, leathers and textiles without changing the materials' appearance and tactile feel.

Study results show that MAP-1 can inactivate up to 99.9 percent of highly-infectious viruses such as measles, mumps and rubella, and 99.99 percent of the surrogate feline calicivirus (FCV) -- a gold standard for disinfection efficiency and is more resistant than coronaviruses such as the one responsible for COVID-19 epidemic.

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guideline in 2016, being effective against FCV is equivalent to being able to inactivate the coronavirus -- an enveloped virus which are easier to sterilize than the non-enveloped ones.

MAP-1 coating is confirmed to be effective against drug-resistant microorganisms during two field studies done recently by the team in a public hospital and an elderly home. Its use in hospital privacy curtains saw over 98.7 percent reduction in drug-resistant bacteria in 3 weeks.

"We ran a seven-months field trial of the coating on privacy partition curtains in a local public hospital and six months study on bed linens in an elderly home, and the results is very encouraging, with the total amount of bacteria reduced by over 99 percent and 95.8 percent on the curtains and bed linens respectively," Yeung said.

The coating also prevents microbial adhesion on the surface and thus keeping it clean from microbial contaminants.