Researchers at Liverpool University have been awarded £615,000 from UKRI to develop a new antiviral coating for PPE to protect healthcare workers from Covid-19.
Led by Dr Raechelle D’Sa and supported by Dr Jenny Hanson, from the University’s School of Engineering, the project aims to develop a new coating with antiviral and antifouling properties that can be readily applied to PPE surfaces.
The project will also investigate how long the Covid-19 virus survives on visors and antiviral coated visors under a range of conditions to better understand how to minimise the transmission of infection.
Covid-19 is transmitted through large respiratory droplets generated by coughing, sneezing or speaking which can also survive on surfaces. PPE plays a crucial role in interrupting the transmission of Covid-19, but research has found that a high level of viral load and the process of putting PPE on and taking it off presents an increased risk transmission.
The disposal of contaminated PPE also presents a further transmission risk, as does concern regarding the disposal of single use PPE.
In a statement, Dr Raechelle D’Sa, an expert in the design of antimicrobial materials and therapeutics, said: “This project will use our expertise to produce an innovative new antiviral and antifouling coating which can be used on PPE to protect staff working in healthcare settings.”
“This is a potential low-cost technology solution, that once proven can be taken forward in a relatively short timescale to provide additional protection from Covid-19 to healthcare workers.”
The project is funded by the UKRI COVID19 Rapid Response Call that supports research and innovation that address problems related to COVID-19.
The project involves co-investigators from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Trust, and the University of Toronto in Canada.