Disinfecting methods such as chemical, bleach or alcohol-based products actively destroy, or deactivate, microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses on contact. However, this approach requires constant retreatment of the surfaces with disinfecting agent which can be labour intensive and impractical.
An alternative approach is to create a permanent or semi-permanent surface that destroys virus particles on contact, known as an ‘antiviral’ surface.
New multifunctional coatings
The scientists are focussing on developing new multifunctional contact biocidal and virucidal coatings, which are safe, do not release chemicals to the environment and are user friendly and universal in their application.
One disadvantage of all biocidal and virucidal coatings is that surface contamination by dust, debris and dirt can disable its antiviral capabilities overtime. An ideal coating system would be both potent in its antimicrobial properties but also easy-clean or even self-cleaning in nature.
This concept is the inspiration for the low friction, or ‘superhydrophobic’ qualities of the coatings under development by researchers at Northumbria University.
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