Researchers Develop Antiviral Surface Coating That Kills COVID-19

Researchers at the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology are developing a surface coating that will kill the COVID-19 virus on contact. Photo courtesy of the University of Waterloo.

The Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN), a research facility within the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), is collaborating with SiO2 International Inc. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) to develop a surface coating that immediately kills the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on contact. This antiviral coating could be applied to all personal protective equipment and high-touch surfaces, greatly reducing the risk of community transmission of the virus.

WIN is Canada’s largest nanotechnology institute and a global leader in the discovery and development of smart and functional materials. SiO2 International Inc. develops and manufactures ultra-thin, high-performance commercial and industrial coatings for the North American market.

This multi-faceted research initiative has developed an experimental set-up that quantifies the adhesion force between a viral load and a coated surface, with water droplets being used to mimic the primary mode of person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. Further testing will determine the coatings’ ability to de-activate SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 virus can survive on surfaces for 24 hours or more,” says Sushanta Mitra, WIN’s executive director and lead researcher on the project. “In order to protect frontline workers and the general public, it’s important that the virus be neutralized immediately when it comes into contact with any surface; our work will culminate in the production of an anti-viral coating that will do just that.”

The process for creating the coating will involve several steps, including developing techniques to durably coat the antiviral material of different surfaces, understanding the physical forces between COVID-19 and coated materials, and creating a computational model and optimal formulation of coating materials in order to increase their effectiveness.

“Our history of creating and delivering safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly products is enabling us to meet this historical moment,” said Bruce Johnston, chief technology officer at SiO2 Innovation Labs. “We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Professor Mitra and WIN in order to bring to market a surface coating that can neutralize pathogens quickly and their subsequent spread. Reduced infection rates will save lives and create safer environments in public and private spaces including homes, the workplace, schools, stores, public transit and hospitality venues.”

Source: University of Waterloo,