Sprayable medical device and personal protective equipment coatings with long-term anti-viral activity to fight COVID-19
While droplet transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is the major concern in terms of the high infectivity of the virus, the surprisingly long-term infectivity of viruses on various surfaces also raises concerns about potential surface transmission. These concerns are particularly acute in a healthcare setting, with particularly long-term viral infectivity observed on face masks (~7 days) as well as metal medical devices used for diagnosis and treatment (e.g. stethoscopes, ~4 days). Given the high infectivity rates of healthcare workers across Canada (~10% of total COVID‑19 cases), developing a technology-based solution for persistently deactivating viruses on surfaces without the need for repeated time-consuming disinfection procedures is anticipated to protect both healthcare workers and patients as well as safely address deficits in personal protective equipment. In this project, a partnership between Dr. Todd Hoare’s lab at McMaster University, SteriPro Inc. (a leading provider of hospital disinfection services), and Dr. Shawn Mondoux (Quality and Safety Lead at the Emergency Room of St. Joseph’s Hospital Hamilton) aims to address this challenge by developing sprayable anti-infective coatings that can be safely applied to surfaces and maintain persistent anti-viral properties over at least 24 hours. This technology builds on functional polymers already established in the Hoare lab to strongly bind to metal, polymer, and cellulose-based surfaces while facilitating highly effective anti-bacterial activity; viruses like SARS-CoV-2 are typically easier to deactivate. Work will be focused on developing robust anti-viral coatings for titanium (stethoscope heads), polypropylene (N95 masks), and cellulosic fibres (surgical masks/gowns). SteriPro will provide essential performance testing, regulatory consultation, and validation studies in collaboration with its hospital and government partners, while Mondoux will lead a proof-of-concept study at his ER to assess coating performance in a real healthcare environment. While application testing will be focused on addressing urgent COVID‑19 concerns, the broad-spectrum activity of the coatings is ultimately expected to address multiple types of hospital infections (e.g. antibiotic resistant bacteria).