Antimicrobial copper nanocomposite coating for protecting touch surfaces from COVID-19
As the COVID‑19 pandemic continues, the importance of sterilization eliminating bacteria and viruses becomes even more emphasized. There are growing public concerns of pathogen transmission via commonly touched surfaces such as transit handlebars, elevator buttons, door handles, the touchpad of bank ATMs, etc. Even though there are many sanitizers available, it is quite tedious since it must be rubbed and applied by hand frequently. There is an urgent need to have antimicrobial surface coatings with which the routine sanitization on such surfaces will no longer be required.
In order to respond this urgent need, the University of Calgary and Flair Flexible Packaging Corp. have cooperated to develop copper nanocomposite coatings to kill bacteria and viruses. Flair’s products are commonly seen in a variety of food packaging. Due to the current pandemic concerns, their customers are also very interested in the antimicrobial surfaces. The outcome of this research will minimize the lifespan of bacteria and viruses on the surface of the packages, thereby reducing the possibility of spreading pathogens via touching the packages. More importantly, the antimicrobial coating technologies will applicable to not only the product packages but also the surface of public areas such as clinics, nursing homes, or hospitals where there is a higher risk of COVID‑19 infection. The new copper nanocomposite coating will be designed and developed by the optimized condition of copper nanoparticles, polymer, and solvent mixtures. The antibacterial and antiviral activity of the coating will be tested with different bacteria and viruses.
The new development would provide an alternative way to respond to the ever-growing demands for antimicrobial coating with cost-effectiveness and time efficiency. The collaborative research will benefit Canada by providing health, economic, and environmental benefits as well as a way to facilitate the training of HQP with a variety of professional and technical skills.