McMaster Inventors Repellent Plastic Film Kills All Viruses & Bacteria

Photo credit: McMaster University

If the past two and a half years have taught us anything, it’s the global threat posed by viruses.

Now, new research from the inventors of a promising anti-pathogen self-cleaning plastic film has confirmed that it not only kills bacteria, as has already been proven, but viruses as well, bolstering its usefulness. potential for interrupting the transmission of infections.

The new packaging, designed to protect against contamination of high-touch surfaces such as door handles and railings, is now moving into large-scale production through FendX Technologies Inc., which licensed the technology last year. developed by inventors Leyla Soleymani and Tohid Didar, both of McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering in Hamilton, Ontario. To prevent pathogens and other agents from sticking to plastic, McMaster researchers used nanotechnology to sculpt the surface structure of everyday household packaging so that it traps microscopic air pockets that repel everything that comes into contact with it, including water or blood droplets.

“It’s a line of defense against emerging pathogens, including future threats we haven’t seen yet,” Soleymani said. “This technology closes the door to surface transfer of pathogens.”

Soleymani, Didar and their McMaster colleagues have published three new papers on RepelWrap since their proof-of-concept research was first made public in December 2019, unknowingly on the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic. In November 2020, RepelWrap was named the overall winner of the Create the Future 2020 design competition, organized by the New York-based engineering design information provider. Technical Briefs.

The first of the new articles, published in January 2022 in the journal Applied materials and ACS interfacesshows that the wrap has the same effect using a new formulation that eliminates the use of fluoride, a chemical associated with health and environmental concerns.

The second article, published in February 2022 in the journal nanotechnology Little, demonstrates a new manufacturing method that transforms packaging into highly flexible transparent films that repel pathogens and prevent blood clots under the flow, for use in medical catheters and tubing. The team has filed patents for new technologies.

The most recent article, published in Applied materials and ACS interfaces, shows that the packaging surface is effective at repelling not only bacteria, as demonstrated by proof-of-concept research, but also viruses, greatly increasing its usefulness. This latest research, using a real-world model developed by researcher Ali Ashkar’s lab at McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, also demonstrates how the envelope clears a herpes virus and a coronavirus closely related to SARS. -CoV-2 in the structure, which means it is most likely to repel COVID-19 itself.

The product works using a microscopically “tuned” self-cleaning surface design to remove anything that comes in contact with it, down to the scale of viruses and bacteria. The design was inspired by the water-shedding surface of the lotus leaf.

The next step is towards commercialization, although a precise timetable has not yet been set. “Things are going in the right direction as this invention continues to evolve and head to market,” Didar said.

Bryce K. Locke