BLACKSBURG, Va. - A Virginia Tech professor believes he has found a way to stop COVID-19 from spreading on surfaces.
 
Since mid-March, William Ducker, a chemical engineering professor, has been developing a surface coating that when painted on common objects, inactivates SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 
 
“The idea is when the droplets land on a solid object, the virus within the droplets will be inactivated,” Ducker said.  
 
Since April, Ducker has been working with Leo Poon, a professor and researcher at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health, to test the film’s success at inactivating the virus. Their research was published July 13 in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, a scientific journal for chemists, engineers, biologists, and physicists. 
 
The copper-based coating painted on a doorknob.
The results of the tests have been outstanding, Ducker said. When the coating is painted on glass or stainless steel, the amount of virus is reduced by 99.9 percent in one hour, compared to the uncoated sample.  
 
“One hour is the shortest period that we have tested so far, and tests at shorter periods are ongoing,” Ducker said. 
 
The coating itself is made from particles of cuprous oxide (copper oxide), which can be made out of recycled copper pipes and wires, bound with polyurethane. It can protect surfaces from the virus for at least six weeks, says Ducker. The coating also retains its ability to inactivate the virus after multiple rounds of being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
 
Ducker says his next goal is to attract funding in order to mass produce the coating.
 
 

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