Aussie researchers create spray to keep viruses, bacteria at bay

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Sydney, July 22 (IANS) Researchers from Australian universities developed a spray that can stop the spread of bacteria and viruses, including the Covid-19 virus.

Published in the journal Advanced Science, the long-lasting spray coats common surfaces and repels viruses and bacteria through an air-filled barrier as well as killing pathogens, Xinhua news agency reported.

One of its inventors, biomedical engineer Professor Antonio Tricoli from the University of Sydney, said the spray used a combination of plastics strong enough to be considered an alternative to bullet-proof glass.

“Without a barrier, viruses such as coronaviruses can stay on surfaces and remain infectious for up to a week,” Tricoli added in an article published in Scimex on Thursday.

“Other viruses, which can cause colds or diarrhoea, can remain on surfaces for several weeks, causing large outbreaks in health and aged-care facilities.”

The research team, which also includes scientists from the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University, said the spray had taken five years to develop.

They believed its advantages over rival products are that it lasts much longer than standard disinfectants and unlike other non-disinfectants, which contain silver nanoparticles, there are no harmful side effects, meaning it would be suitable for public settings such as lift buttons, stair railings, hospitals, schools and restaurants.

University of Melbourne Professor David Nisbet said the spray has been tested on a wide range of materials, including metals, blotting paper, plastic, bricks, tiles and glass.

“We have identified the mechanical processes underpinning how the spray works and quantified its effectiveness in different environments,” Nisbet added.

“We believe our explanation of the mechanism behind the antimicrobial and antiviral effects could significantly advance research in antipathogen technologies that could see affordable manufacture of an effective surface spray to protect people from viruses and bacteria.”

The research team has created a start-up company to make the spray commercially available within the next three years.

–IANS

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