A college professor and a trio of dedicated students have developed an anti-COVID coating that lasts for up to six weeks.
We could beat COVID-19 if we looked at this as an all-hands-on-deck situation. But with politics, misinformation and a lack of leadership destroying hopes of a unified response, instead we must muddle along and hope for individual, independent breakthroughs.
One such breakthrough has been achieved by William Ducker, a professor of Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech. Ducker, assisted by PhD. chemical engineering graduate students Saeed Behzadinasab and Mohsen Hosseini, as well as Xu Feng from the university's Department of Chemistry, figured out how to combine cuprous oxide (fancy science-speak for copper oxide) with polyurethane, resulting in a kind of paint that can be applied to surfaces.
Professor William Ducker. [Image credit: Virginia Tech/Ryan Young]
Grad student Mohsen Hosseini working on the coating in a Virginia Tech lab. [Image credit: Virginia Tech/Ryan Young]
Grad student Saeed Behzadinasab working on the coating in a Virginia Tech lab. [Image credit: Virginia Tech/Ryan Young]
Ducker contacted virus expert Leo Poon, a professor at the University of Hong Kong, for testing assistance. The results, according to science journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, where the research was published, show that the durable coating kills 99.9% of virus particles within an hour and can continue to perform this task even after being submerged in water for 13 days.
Furthermore, the coating retains its virus-killing properties even after being treated with disinfectants--it doesn't wash off--and lasts for at least six weeks, though theoretically could remain effective for years (more testing is required to confirm the coating's true lifespan).
The coating, seen here on a doorknob, is copper-colored in appearance.
Ducker wants to call their invention SafetyCoat, and "he foresees widespread application," according to The Roanoke Times:
He has tested the surface coating on a shopping cart handle, a pen and a credit card reader "Enter" button, among other everyday objects. "It's not just like an esoteric thing where there might be a doorknob across the president's office that has a coating. We can apply this everywhere," Ducker said.
…Ducker is [now] focused on looking for investors who could help bring the surface coating into the mainstream. "I definitely want to mass produce it," he said. "I want it all over the place."