Hong Kong researchers say they develop novel material able to kill COVID-19 virus


HONG KONG -- The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) announced on Thursday that its research team has successfully developed "anti-virus 3D printing material" that can kill the COVID-19 virus on surfaces as well as most common viruses and bacteria.

The main component of the material is resin, added with anti-viral agents such as cationic compounds, to pierce the cell membrane of the virus and destroy its structure to kill the virus and bacteria, according to PolyU researchers.

Chris Lo, associate professor at PolyU's Institute of Textiles and Clothing, who led the research team, said that laboratory tests confirmed the material can eliminate over 90 percent of viruses within 10 minutes and terminate almost all viruses and bacteria on a surface in 20 minutes.

Lo said that the material was a resin material with high anti-virus performance. By using 3D printing technology, it can be produced in different forms catering to different needs.

"It is therefore highly flexible and can be used extensively in public facilities to provide epidemic prevention support to the community," Lo said, adding that the cost of the material was rather low.

In the past year, the research team has collaborated with different organizations to produce recycling bin handles, toilet doorknob covers, lift buttons, braille boards and more, aiming to conduct further tests and trials of the effectiveness and durability of the material in killing viruses.

Kan Chi-wai, a member of the research team and professor at PolyU's Institute of Textiles and Clothing said that even after use for a year, not only is the handle on the recycling bin still in good condition, no COVID-19 virus, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus are detected on the handle's surface.

This proves that the efficacy rate of the material only diminishes gradually after three years of use, and is effective in fighting against viruses and bacteria, Kan added.

The team has already applied patent of this technology and application, and will use it for commercial purposes in future, Lo said.

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