The COVID-19 outbreak has drastically changed the perception of cleanliness and hygiene, inducing interest in antimicrobial coatings. In the past, antimicrobial coatings struggled to find widespread utilisation because of the difficulties quantifying their effect on human health. The recent pandemic, however, has propelled these coatings into the limelight.
Many industries in Singapore have used and considered antimicrobial coatings as a vital safety measure against COVID-19. In fact, the antimicrobial coating industry is currently one of the fastest-growing industries globally. This article guides you through what you need to know about antimicrobial coatings and how they can protect against COVID-19.
What Is An Antimicrobial Coating?
An antimicrobial coating is a process of applying a coating or covering comprising antimicrobial agents, such as silver nanoparticles or biocides. It is primarily utilised on devices and surfaces to hinder microorganisms’ growth, including germs and mould. Its performance stays for a period of time even after repeated cleaning and water exposure.
The antimicrobial coating is mainly applied to various buildings’ walls, housewares, counters, HVAC vents, outdoor facilities and other high-touch areas. The antimicrobial spray is also applied on masks, gloves, textiles and carpeting.
What Are The Advantages of Antimicrobial Coatings?
Antimicrobial coatings provide various benefits. Here are some of their key advantages:
- Offer Long-Lasting Protections: Antimicrobial coatings consist of additives that offer sufficient, long-lasting and proven protection against bacteria, fungi and mould. Therefore, they reduce unpleasant odours, stain and material degradation. Microbes will not grow or survive on the surface as long as the coatings remain tenable.
- Requires Fewer Disinfectants: The use of antimicrobial surface coating decreases the need to use harsh disinfectants and cleaning substances when dealing with obstinate microbes in public facilities, thereby mitigating the environmental impact of cleaning agents’ utilisation in buildings, particularly medical facilities.
- Prolong Surfaces’ Lifespan: Protection against microbes and maintenance offered by the coatings improve the object’s general lifespan. They protect surfaces and items against odour, discolouration, and other damages brought about by microbial activity.
- Cost-Effective: Antimicrobial coatings allow users to save a considerable amount of money as they decrease the expenses of replacement for unsanitary things. Users can coat many things with antimicrobial substances for sanitary maintenance. The coatings also lower supply and labour expenses.
- Improve Cleanliness: Antimicrobial coatings enhanced cleanliness by decreasing bacterial presence in the air and other high-touch objects like railings, doorknobs, light switches and countertops.
- Increase Infrastructure Value: Antimicrobial coatings conveys a more profound message that the organisations care about their customers’ safety and the environment, adding value to their standard as a whole.
How Does Antimicrobial Coating Help Combat COVID-19?
The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally transformed people’s behaviour, instilling a higher level of precaution and changing the perspective on cleanliness. The introduction of antimicrobial coatings as a shield against COVID-19 makes users more at ease; more and more industries and consumers value the sense of safety with coatings.
One study conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona found that an antimicrobial coating with special formulation can shield the surfaces from coronavirus for up to ninety days with a single application. The study proposed antimicrobial coating as a new line of defence to combat the COVID-19 virus. The research also reported that coated surfaces have a reduced amount of virus by up to ninety per cent within ten minutes and almost 100 within two hours of application.
One study suggests that the COVID-19 virus can stay alive for up to seventy-two hours on stainless steel and plastic surfaces. This finding led to an increasing interest in antimicrobial coatings for high-touch surfaces, such as handrails, shopping carts, door handles, elevator buttons and counters.
Antimicrobial coatings are used in numerous consumer and industrial applications. For instance, paint manufacturers apply it onto their wall paints and primer products to inhibit pathogens’ growth within the facilities.
Moreover, the coatings can eliminate a wide range of microorganisms and lower the risk of infection and virus transmission in healthcare and public settings. Also, they have the potential to substantially enhance PPE functionalities.
The healthcare and medical sectors are the biggest consumers of antimicrobial coatings. Increasing concern about HAIs or hospital-acquired infections and their association effect on humans are the main driving factors for applying antimicrobial coatings. COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically raised the demand for antimicrobial coatings in these sectors. Touch surfaces, including medical devices, beds and protective gears, are coated with the coatings to ensure maximum safety for patients and healthcare workers.
Currently, many start-ups and companies are developing protective clothing for protect against COVID-19. For instance, the Indian Institute of Technology has recently developed spray-based antimicrobial coatings for PPE like face masks that can eliminate more than 99.9% of viruses and bacteria.
Antimicrobial coatings are a great way to combat COVID-19 within a short period and to reduce future outbreaks. Their application is especially useful at medical facilities, workplaces and public settings like public transports.