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Queen’s University Researchers Develop Plastic Film That Can Kill Viruses

The new self-sterilising plastic film can kill pathogenic viruses including SARS2 and influenza A virus, say researchers at Queen's University Belfast.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : September 15, 2022 5:13 PM IST

Imagine hospitals using aprons, tablecloths and curtains that can kill viruses like SARS2 it's possible now. Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have developed a self-sterilising plastic film, which they claim can kill viruses that land on its surface using room light.

The best thing is that such plastic films can be produced at a low cost and a larger scale for use in making biodegradable disposable aprons, tablecloths, and curtains in hospitals, they said.

Thetechnology used to create self-sterilising plastic film

According to the Queen's researchers, the self-sterilising plastic film is coated with a thin layer of particles, which absorb UV light and produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) that kill viruses. The film is degradable, and thus more environmentally friendly than the disposable plastic films currently in use.

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Usage of this new plastic film will not only lead to a significant reduction in the transmission of viruses in healthcare environments but also in other settings that uses plastic films, such as food production factories, the researchers stated.

The film was tested for anti-viral activity against four different viruses two strains of influenza A virus, a highly-stable picornavirus called EMCV and SARS2 exposing it to either UVA radiation or with light from a cool white light fluorescent lamp. It was able to kill all of the viruses, even in a room lit with just white fluorescent tubes, according to the researchers.

Meet the researchers who created this ground-breaking plastic film

The plastic film is the brainchild of Professor Andrew Mills, Dr Ri Han and Dr Christopher O'Rourke in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Queen's University Belfast and Dr Connor Bamford and Dr Jonathon D. Coey at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen's.

Findings of their research have been published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology.

The project was funded by the Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation.

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