Indian researchers develop coating that kills Covid

Indian researchers develop coating that kills Covid

Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 1

Amid all the pessimism and anxiety, there appears to be a ray of sunshine with the government today saying the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) has developed a one-step curable anti-microbial coating which, when coated on different surfaces like textile and plastic, could kill a range of virus types, including the deadly Covid-19.

Surfaces to be contamination-free

Researchers believe that a one-step curable anti-microbial coating may inactivate SARS-CoV-2 upon contact and can help prevent contamination if coated on various surfaces like textile and plastic.

JNCASR is an autonomous institution under the Department of Science and Technology. According to the researchers, “till date, to the best of our knowledge, there is no covalent coating strategy which can kill all viruses, bacteria and fungi.”

The covalent coating, the research paper about which has been accepted in the journal Applied Material and Interfaces, has been found to completely kill influenza virus as well as resistant pathogenic bacteria and fungi, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and fluconazole-resistant C. albicans, as per the department.

Coronavirus, like influenza, is also an enveloped virus. Therefore, it is anticipated that the coating may inactivate SARS-CoV-2 upon contact and can help prevent contamination if coated on various surfaces, it added.

Considering the current outbreak, if shown to be active, the molecule can be synthesised in large scale through a CRO (Contract Research Organisation) and can be coated on various personal protective tools such as masks, gloves and gowns in collaboration with the private organisations. The molecules can also be coated on other medical devices and tools to avoid hospital-acquired or nosocomial infections. Notably, the frontline health workers are at the biggest risk currently.

The coating can be fabricated on a variety of surfaces, and its ease and robustness eliminate the necessity of skilled personnel for procurement of the coating, they said

The molecules developed have an ability to chemically cross-link with different surfaces upon UV irradiation. Upon the formation of the coating, it has been shown to permeabilize the membranes of pathogens (i.e. bacteria) leading to their inactivation.

Microbial attachment and their colony formation on different surfaces play a major role in the transmission of deadly infections in the community as well as healthcare settings. Keeping this in mind, an easy approach was developed to coat a wide range of substrates used in daily life as well as in clinical settings. Molecules were designed, keeping in mind their optimum solubility in a wide range of solvents (such as water, ethanol, chloroform).

The molecules were then immobilised on different substrates such as cotton, polyurethane, polypropylene, polystyrene, etc., which construct majority of the objects we see around us. After coating, the surfaces were evaluated for their antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activity, said the department.

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