Testing of antiviral coatings for COVID-19
There is an urgent need to provide personal protection equipment (PPE) to front-line health practitioners and other essential workers during this COVID‑19 pandemic. One of the desirable factor would be that the virus is killed readily when in contact with the materials of PPE and other frequently used surfaces. Studies suggest that COVID‑19 virus remains viable on surfaces such as cloth (textile materials), metals, plastics, woods, rubber, glass, and papers for different duration ranging anywhere from a few hours to over 24 hrs. Therefore, it is important to device a coating material that would be applied to PPE and other surfaces, which would kill the virus instantaneously and its antiviral efficacy would remain for extended period. The Waterloo research team in collaboration with SiO2 Innovation Labs will work towards this important goal of bringing such functional coatings to the marketplace. This would involve development of techniques to durably coat the antiviral material of different surfaces, understand the origin of the physical forces between virus and the coated materials through careful experiments and computational models and finally come up with an optimal formulation of the coating materials based on these studies. Once successfully achieved, the desired coating material will propel the industry partner in marketing their coating to large number of end-users and would eventually save millions of lives worldwide.