Hong Kong University researchers have developed an antiviral coating which could provide 90 days of “significant” protection against bacteria and viruses.
According to Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) researchers, the coating, called MAP-1, took 10 years to develop and can be sprayed on surfaces that are frequently used by the public, such as elevator buttons and handrails.
“These places are frequently touched, and, at the same time, serve as a very effective medium for the transmission of diseases,” said HKUST Adjunct Professor Joseph Kwan, one of the chief researchers in the team that developed the product.
The coating that forms after spraying has millions of nano-capsules containing disinfectants and remains effective in killing bacteria, viruses, and spores even after the coating has dried, Kwan says.
MAP-1 is further boosted by heat-sensitive polymers that encapsulate and release disinfectants upon human contact unlike common disinfecting methods such as diluted bleach and alcohol.
MAP-1 is non-toxic and safe for skin and the environment, researchers say.
The coating has been made available for commercial purchase by Germagic, a unit of the university’s industrial partner, Chiaphua Industries Ltd.
The coating was approved for official and mass consumer use in February and will hit Hong Kong stores next month.
With help from a local charity, the non-toxic coating has already 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 who lives in a 110-square-foot subdivided unit that was recently sprayed with the coating.
The researchers said shopping malls, schools and sport training facilities in the city have adopted the coating.
Applying the coating at schools costs HK$20,000 ($2,600) to HK$50,000, depending on the size of the sprayed area. The company also plans to introduce 50ml and 200ml domestic use versions with prices ranging from HK$70-250.