SAO PAULO – Handles, elevator buttons and touch screens are among the possible applications for an adhesive plastic film that kills COVID-19 germs, the Brazilian company behind the coating said on Tuesday.
Testing has shown that the substance, consisting of polyethylene with microparticles of silver and silicon oxide, can eliminate 99.84 percent of coronavirus traces on a surface within two minutes of contact.
The product, marketed by Promaflex, was developed by Nanox with input and financial aid from the state-funded Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP).
To be designated as a virucide, a substance must prove capable of neutralizing virus particles within four hours or less.
Scientists at the University of Sao Paulo’s Biosafety Level 3 laboratory found that the Nanox substance exceeds the international standard by a wide margin.
“The plastic film with the additive proved to be capable of achieving this objective in a much shorter time and the virucidal action increases with time,” USP researcher Lucio Freitas Junior said in a statement issued by FAPESP.
Researchers tested samples of the film both with and without the microparticles on surfaces covered with COVID-19.
“As microparticles of silver and silica are added to the plastic mass during production, the anti-microbial action lasts for the entire useful life of the material,” Nanox director Luiz Gustavo Pagotto Simões said.
Even so, the firm recommends replacing the virucidal film after three months.
The adhesive film is Nanox’s second product featuring the silver and silica additive, following a reusable flexible plastic face mask.
Nanox has also applied the silver and silicon oxide to threads as a step toward developing garments that protect the wearer from COVID-19.
Brazil is second only to the United States in terms of the impact of the coronavirus, with 132,000 deaths and 4.36 million cases.
The Brazilian federal government and several different state administrations have entered into agreements with makers of the various potential COVID-19 vaccines to ensure supplies once one or more formulas is proved safe and effective.
The governor of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s wealthiest and most populous state, told EFE earlier this month that his administration will be able to begin inoculating the state’s 46 million residents in January thanks to an accord between China’s Sinovac Biotech and Instituto Butantan, a world-renowned epidemiological center affiliated with the Sao Paulo state health department.
“The distribution will be free of charge and we already have 60 million doses, but we would like to reach 100 (million) for Brazilians in other regions. We are talking with the federal government about financing it,” Joao Doria said.
Sinovac’s drug, CoronaVac, is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in Brazil under the supervision of Instituto Butantan.