International. Research shows that a thin film of cellulose can inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus within minutes, inhibit the growth of bacteria, including E. coli, and mitigate the transfer of pathogens by contact.
The coating consists of a thin film of cellulose fiber that is invisible to the naked eye and is resistant to abrasion in dry conditions, making it suitable for use on high-traffic objects such as door handles and handrails.
While conventional chemical disinfectants and antiviral surface designs focus on structural proteins or nucleic acids, the researchers, led by Professor Zhenyu Jason Zhang of Birmingham's School of Chemical Engineering, focused on drying respiratory droplets containing viruses by the introduced capillary force. by the porous structure.
The COVID-19 virus is known to remain active for several days on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel, but only for a few hours in the newspaper.
The team, which has expertise in surface chemistry and formulation engineering, investigated the structure and performance of a coating made of microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) provided by FiberLean Technologies, a producer of MFC for the paper and packaging industry.
The researchers found that the porous nature of the film plays an important role. It accelerates the evaporation rate of liquid droplets and introduces an unbalanced osmotic pressure through the bacterial membrane.
The coating was developed by scientific teams from the University of Birmingham, the University of Cambridge and FiberLean Technologies, who worked on a project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to formulate treatments for glass, metal or laminate surfaces that would provide long life. protection against the COVID-19 virus.