The research, led by the university’s Additive Manufacturing of Functional Materials (AMFM) group, builds on its previous collaboration with the Catholic University of Valencia’s Biomaterials and Bioengineering Lab.
Earlier this year, the team published a study reporting development of an antiviral copper-tungsten-silver (Cu-W-Ag) material that kills Covid-19 within five hours.
The recent emergence of the Omicron variant has seen many countries globally implementing new restrictions, and director of Wolverhampton University’s Centre for Engineering Innovation and Research (CEIR) Dr Arun Arjunan said that antiviral materials offer ‘much potential for transmission prevention’.
“As airborne droplets below five microns can contain infectious SARS-CoV-2 and can remain suspended in the air for three hours, masks do offer some protection from the transmission,” Arjunan said.
“However, surfaces on the other hand can sustain infectious viruses from a few hours to nine days depending on the surface material and morphology. For example, stainless steel that is widely found in hospitals and medical settings can sustain SARS-CoV-2 survival for seven days.”
The team used Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) additive manufacturing techniques to fabricate a novel microporous architecture and assess the antiviral performance of 3D printing material Cobalt-Chromium-Molybdenum (Co-Cr-Mo). The material is already commonly used in industrial 3D printing settings for medical and aerospace applications.
Lead researcher John Robinson said that the material was shown to have ‘potent antiviral activity’, showing significant improvement on copper and silver alloys which are well known for their antimicrobial properties.
“To our knowledge we are the first to assess the anti-SARS-CoV-2 efficacy of Co-Cr-Mo which displayed 100 per cent viral inactivation in 30 minutes,” he said.
“Therefore, our latest publication proves L-PBF and Co-Cr-Mo could be adopted for antiviral mask filters and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning filtration systems for healthcare and general community settings.
“Additionally, Co-Cr-Mo could be used for door handles or other touch points where high potential for virus transmission could be reduced or eliminated.”