Scientists say new disinfectant protects surfaces from coronavirus for 90 days

Researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology say their new disinfectant spray can "inactivate" viruses from surfaces for 90 days, like the one causing COVID-19.

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Researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have developed an anti-microbial coating that they say can kill the coronavirus when sprayed on surfaces.

Hong Kong Univeristy of Science and Technology

Researchers at a top university in Hong Kong say they have developed a new anti-microbial coating that can be sprayed on surfaces to kill most bacteria and viruses --including the coronavirus -- for up to 90 days.

Known as MAP-1, the anti-microbial coating has been designed for use across a range of surfaces including glass, metals, plastic, leather and fabrics, according to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).  

The surface coating lasts "significantly longer" than conventional disinfectants that use alcohol or bleach, which lose their function as the liquids evaporates, according to HKUST.  To help achieve this, it relies on heat-sensitive polymers that its inventors say responds to contamination from touch or droplets. It does this by releasing a larger amount of disinfectant when it senses an increase in temperature that can take place whenever our hands touch a surface or when moisture from droplets. 

Read more: Disinfect your home to help kill coronavirus. Here's what to use

A Hong Kong government-backed study published in the Hong Kong Medical Journal in 2018 says the anti-microbial disinfectant coating achieved "consistently low bacterial load" when it was tested in several wards at one of the largest hospitals in the city from 2013 to 2015.

The anti-viral coating, which took ten years to develop, is expected to hit stores in Hong Kong in May following clinical tests in the city back in February, according to Reuters. Shopping malls, schools, churches and sport training facilities in Hong Kong have used the coating, according to researchers, who also say its ingredients are non toxic. HKUST did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether there were plans for MAP-1 to be made available in the US or other countries.

The spread of the coronavirus appears to have eased in Hong Kong, where zero new COVID-19 cases were reported on several days last week. As of Monday, Hong Kong reported 1,038 coronavirus cases and four deaths.