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Development of Anti-Microbial Coating Against COVID-19

Researchers at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) developed a Multilevel Antimicrobial Polymer (MAP-1) coating shown to be effective in inactivating viruses.

In efforts to fight against the COVID-19 outbreak, researchers from HKUST has developed MAP-1 which was found to be able to inactivate up to 99.9 percent of highly-infectious viruses such as measles, mumps and rubella. It was also able to inactivate 99.9 percent of surrogate feline calicivirus (FCV) – a gold standard for disinfection efficiency and is more resistant compared to coronaviruses.

The surface moieties of MAP-1 coating actively disrupts the microbial envelope and biomolecules, preventing contact by microorganisms. This unique blend of antimicrobial polymers also prevents microbial adhesion to surfaces.

Two field studies were conducted in the Kowloon Hospital and Haven of Hope Woo Ping Care and Attention Home to confirm the effectiveness of MAP-1. It was used in the hospital’s privacy curtains and observed a 98.7 percent reduction in drug-resistant bacteria in three weeks.

The team is looking to work with the Water Supplies Department and the Drainage Service Department for field tests of MAP-1 in coating materials for water pipes and sewage drains to prevent microbial contamination and infrastructure corrosion.

The research team was led by Professor Yeung King Lun, Professor of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the Division of Environment and Sustainability. This MAP-1 coating provides high versatility with an effective period of up to 90 days and is designed for use on different surfaces including metals, concrete, wood, glass, plastics, as well as fabrics, leathers and textiles without changing the materials’ appearance and tactile feel.

According to the Technical Standard for Disinfection issued by the National Health Commission in Mainland China, the coating is proven to be non-toxic and is safe for skin and the environment.

In collaboration with its industrial partner Chiaphua Industries Limited (CIL), HKUST has applied the antimicrobial coating to over 70 day-care centres, elder homes, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools. Other venues include shopping malls, school buses, churches and sports training facilities.

CIL has donated up to HK$ 1.5 million worth of antimicrobial air filters – an air purification technology also developed by Prof. Yeung’s team in 2017, to various hospitals in Mainland China, including Wuhan’s emergency Huoshenshan Hospital.

“Thanks to the long-term support of our industrial partner Chiaphua Industries Ltd, our team is able to develop MAP-1 as a potent solution for infection control. We ran a seven-months field trial of the coating on privacy partition curtains in a local public hospital and six months study on bed linens in an elderly home, and the results is very encouraging, with the total amount of bacteria reduced by over 99 percent and 95.8 percent on the curtains and ben linens respectively,” Prof. Yeung said.

In May 2018, HKUST and CIL set up a joint laboratory with funding support from both CIL and the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) to translate conceptual ideas and research on innovative environmental health technologies into tangible products to address societal needs. The development of the MAP-1 coating represents it first prominent discovery since its inception. [APBN]