Researchers at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, are currently developing anti-viral surfaces to decrease the spread of infectious diseases. A recent study found that a resin ingredient is effective against coronaviruses and strongly decreases their infectivity on plastic surfaces.
Viruses may persist on solid surfaces for long periods, which may contribute to an increased risk for infection. The research group of the Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology Varpu Marjomäki from the University of Jyväskylä, is investigating how different surfaces and materials could decrease the spread of viral diseases. For example, they are studying how long corona viruses survive on different surfaces when humidity and temperature are varying.
This information would be of direct benefit to both consumers and industry. Antiviral functionality could be used, for example, in restaurants, kindergartens, public transport and stores, on different surfaces, where viruses can potentially stay infective for a long time and spread easily.”
Professor Varpu Marjomäki, University of Jyväskylä
Plastic surfaces with antiviral functionality
The researchers of the Nanoscience Center of the University of Jyväskylä studied resin-embedded plastic surfaces against both the seasonal human coronavirus and the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
– In our recent study, we found that the viruses stayed infective for more than two days on plastic surfaces that were not treated at all. In contrast, a plastic surface containing resin showed good antiviral activity within fifteen minutes of contact and excellent efficacy after thirty minutes. Plastic treated with resin is therefore a promising candidate for an antiviral surface, says Marjomäki.
Research cooperation project with Premix Oy
The research is part of the BIOPROT project (Development of bio-based and antimicrobial materials and use as protective equipment) funded by Business Finland and has been done in collaboration with the Finnish company Premix Oy.
– The project aims to study existing and develop new antiviral solutions in cooperation with companies such as Premix Oy. This will help to create new products for future pandemics and epidemics, says Marjomäki.
New bio-based and antimicrobial materials in protective equipment
The BIOPROT project involves a total of six universities and research institutes and several companies. The project is coordinated by LUT University and aims to develop new, sustainable and safe material solutions that will be used in the fight against infections, with a particular focus on respiratory and surgical mouth masks and reusable masks for industrial use. It is also hoped that the project will improve the self-sufficiency of products and materials in Europe. At the University of Jyväskylä, under the supervision of Marjomäki, the project is developing bio-based antiviral materials.
– Effective and nature-derived antivirals are available in Finland and could be used for the functionalisation of masks and surfaces. Presently, there are only few bio-based functional solutions available, so we have an opportunity to be pioneers in this field, says Marjomäki.
University of Jyväskylä
Shroff, S., et al. (2024). Antiviral action of a functionalized plastic surface against human coronaviruses. Microbiology Spectrum. doi.org/10.1128/spectrum.03008-23.
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