COVID-19 Prevention: Hybrid Polymer/Photoactive Ceramic Self-Disinfecting Coating
This twelve-month project aims to understand and propose a practical solution to prevent transmission of COVID‑19 from contact with contaminated surfaces. It addresses a challenge of crucial importance for Canada and for Bioastra Technologies, a Canadian company specialising in smart materials for health, robotics and environmental applications. BioAstra was recently designated as an “essential service” by the Quebec government to repurpose existing smart coating and smart wearables technology towards the fight against COVID-19. The objective of this project is to functionalize various types of high-contact surfaces with a spray that creates a durable leave-on coating to inactivate COVID‑19 and other viruses. Specifically, we will develop a composite based on Bioastra’s proprietary sol-gel formulation integrated with metal-oxide nanoparticle (NPs)-based photocatalysts. Due to the composite nature of the film, better anti-viral performance can be obtained coupled with long term-stability. We anticipate a synergist effect arising from the antiviral properties of photocatalyst materials combined with the intrinsic virus-inactivating properties of certain charged polymers and their ability to form a durable, fast-setting film when sprayed on a surface. A systematic study of the charge recombination and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation of the different polymer/NPs will be carried out. In particular, the structure-property relationships will be evaluated using Bioastra’s rapid formulation methodology and sophisticated coating and characterization techniques available in Prof. Rosei’s Laboratory. This research will be conducted in close collaboration between BioAstra’s R&D team and Prof. Rosei who will be assisted by one postdoctoral fellow during the whole duration of the project. The expected outcomes will result in advancing knowledge regarding the mechanism of virus inactivation on photoactive surfaces. We anticipate that the final spray-coating product will have a major positive impact on Canada’s health sector and economy.