From antiviral clothing to a garbage bag that inactivates the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), the industry has adopted – and still adopts – innovation to combat COVID-19. Now, a Brazilian company presents a PVC plastic film, transparent and stretchable, for food packaging and capable of inactivating this infectious agent through contact.
Commercialized by the Alpfilm plastics industry, this polymer is composed of silver and silica microparticles that can inactivate the coronavirus. Before the pandemic, the product already had antifungal and bactericidal properties, but it has evolved – with the inclusion of silver particles – to ensure its antiviral capacity.
This antiviral technology was initially developed and licensed by the São Paulo company Nanox, supported by the FAPESP Innovative Research in Small Business Program. Only then, adopted for the use of plastic film. In this format, for example, it can assist supermarkets when exhibiting products, such as meats and cold cuts, avoiding contamination of packaging.
Plastic film against COVID-19
To verify the effectiveness of the material, the researchers conducted tests in the level 3 biosafety laboratory, of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the University of São Paulo (ICB-USP). In the experiments, the plastic film was able to eliminate 79.9% of particles from the new coronavirus in three minutes and 99.99% in up to 15 minutes. “The elimination of the virus by the material was extremely effective and in a short time. It is a very different application from the more than 40 products with action against the new coronavirus that we have tested since the beginning of the pandemic ”, comments Lúcio Freitas Júnior, researcher at ICB-USP.
In general, the results of analysis by quantification of viral genetic material by PCR indicated a reduction of almost 100% in the copies of SARS-CoV-2 that came into contact with samples of the plastic film, after 15 minutes of exposure to the material. “Taking into account that the film is used to pack foods that are exposed and are handled a lot in supermarkets, 15 minutes to totally eliminate the new coronavirus on the material’s surface is a very satisfactory time”, says Luiz Gustavo Pagotto Simões, director of Nanox .
“As silver microparticles are FDA registered [agência regulamentadora de alimentos e fármacos dos Estados Unidos] and integrate a positive list of Anvisa [Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária], there is an upper limit on the additive that can be included in materials used as food packaging to prevent silver migration. For this reason, the concentration of the additive in this type of plastic material has to be slightly lower ”, explains Simões.
For the future of technology, “we are also getting good answers in studies to evaluate the application of the solution in raw materials used in the civil construction sector, such as MDF for laminate floors and paints”, adds Simões.