Fortifying our defenses against the SARS-CoV-2 virus or the novel coronavirus is becoming more critical. Each day, people are closing to re-opening cities, states, and countries around the world that were previously on lockdown–and one way to do that is by using continuously active disinfectants for surfaces, according to a recent COVID-19 study.

The use of conventional disinfectants can help, but using continuously active antimicrobial technology can provide an additional barrier.

Studying Antimicrobial Surface Coatings Against COVID-19

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Arizona (UA) and is recently published on pre-print server MedRxiv, meaning it hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet.

According to the UA researchers, disinfecting high-contact surfaces is an essential practice in today’s pandemic-ridden world, but these surfaces can be easily re-contaminated with just the use of conventional disinfectants.

However, the use of continuously active disinfectants or specially formulated antimicrobial coating could effectively kill microorganisms such as the coronavirus, as the study suggests.

In addition, this kind of surface disinfectant could provide more extended protection against COVID-19 and various other diseases that can be acquired from bacteria, germs, and viruses.

Using the Human Coronavirus 229E

The researchers designed and conducted the study to evaluate the use of continuously active antimicrobial technology as well as its potential use against the transmission of viruses.

They achieved results by testing a modified antimicrobial coating against the human coronavirus 229E, which is among the viruses that cause common colds.

According to their result, the coating was still capable of killing 99.9% of the coronaviruses within two hours, although it was applied two weeks ago.

Since the human coronavirus 229E has the same structure as the SARS-CoV-2 virus, they believe it can be used to control the transmission of the novel coronavirus and provide higher protection against COVID-19.

The study was funded by Allied BioScience, a company that manufactures these antimicrobial surface coatings.

“During the course of respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19, aerosols released during sneezing and coughing contain infectious viruses that will eventually settle onto various surfaces,” said lead author of the study, Luisa Ikner, an associate research professor in UA’s Department of Environmental Science.

“Factors including temperature, humidity, and surface type can affect how long viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 will remain infectious after surface deposition,” she added.

Charles Gerba, a microbiologist and professor of environmental science in the College of Agriculture and Life Science at UA, said that the antimicrobial surface coating technology could be an additional barrier in controlling the spread of microorganisms like coronaviruses in indoor environments.

An Additional Barrier

As of now, we only rely on hand sanitizers, rubbing alcohols, hand washing, and conventional surface disinfectants to help avoid the spread of viruses in our homes.

Nevertheless, these liquid-based surface disinfectants only tend to make microorganisms noninfectious, including the coronaviruses, unlike continuously active disinfectants that make these surfaces a hostile environment for them.

There was a past study from UA researchers from the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health investigating the impact of these coatings in two urban hospitals.

The results for the study were published last October, showing a 36% reduction in hospital-acquired infections.

Since the tech has been around for a long while, it can actually be readily available for the public if they prefer to use it.