Handles, elevator buttons and even touch screens may stop transmitting the new coronavirus due to an adhesive plastic developed in Brazil, which can inactivate SARS-CoV-2 in minutes per contact.
According to a study released on Tuesday, which showed that the material in question, made of polyethylene and with silver and silica microparticles (silicon oxide) in its structure, proved capable of eliminating 99.84% of the particles of the new virus after two minutes of contact.
Launched by the company Promaflex, specialized in the production of this type of films, the material was developed by the company Nanox with the support of the innovative research program for small companies of the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP).
The technical standards that measure antiviral activity on plastics and other non-porous surfaces state that the material must confirm this action in at least four hours.
Tests that followed the ISO 21702: 2019 standard, carried out in the level three biosafety laboratory (NB3) of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the University of São Paulo, showed that the material developed can eliminate the virus much faster.
“The plastic film with the additive proved to be able to achieve this goal in a much shorter time and the viricidal action increased over time,” said Lucio Freitas Junior, a researcher at the institute, cited in a statement released by FAPESP.
For the study, samples of materials with and without silver and silica microparticles incorporated into the structure were used, which were maintained in direct contact with SARS-CoV-2 at different time intervals.
After the stipulated deadlines, the new coronavirus present in the samples of the material was collected and placed in contact with Vero cells – type of cell line used in microbiological cultures – to assess the capacity of infection and multiplication after exposure in the adhesive plastic.
The results indicated a reduction of almost 100% in the copies of SARS-CoV-2 that were in contact with samples of the adhesive plastic after two minutes of exposure to the material.
“As silver and silica microparticles are added to the plastic mass during production, the antimicrobial action is maintained throughout the useful life of the material”, said Luiz Gustavo Pagotto Simões, director of Nanox.
The manufacturer of the plastic with the additive, however, recommends its use for up to three months, to avoid wearing the material due to excessive contact.
Adhesive film is the second plastic material with silver and silica microparticles marketed by Nanox, which developed a reusable mask made with a flexible plastic and the additive applied to its surface.
Silver and silica microparticles have also been applied by Nanox to fabrics for the development of anti-covid-19 clothing.
In fabrics, silver and silica microparticles are impregnated on the surface by an immersion process, followed by drying and fixing, called ‘pad-dry-cure’.
Brazil is the Portuguese-speaking country most affected by the pandemic and one of the hardest hit in the world, when counting the second number of deaths (more than 4.3 million cases and 132,006 deaths), after the United States of America.
The covid-19 pandemic has already claimed at least 929,391 deaths and more than 29.3 million cases of infection in 196 countries and territories, according to a report made by the French agency AFP.