University, Nippon Discover Zeolite Anti-Viral Activity

MONDAY, MARCH 20, 2023

A research group from the University of Tokyo and Nippon Paint Holdings Co., Ltd., has reportedly found that proton-form zeolites have an excellent inactivation effect against influenza and COVID-19. 

The findings reportedly suggest that proton-form zeolites have the potential to create an anti-viral material that is inexpensive, resistant to discoloration and suitable for many applications.

About the Research

Silver ion-exchanged zeolites are crystalline porous materials known to have anti-bacterial properties. The researchers note there are many practical applications for these zeolites, but the materials have disadvantages involving high cost caused by the use of Ag+ and the discoloration of materials.

For the study, the group valuated the anti-viral properties of proton-form zeolites through an anti-viral activation test using an influenza virus. They also reportedly observed the virus after contact with the material by using transmission electron microscopy and examined the mechanism of virus destruction.

The results showed that the virus infection titer was reduced to below the detection limit when influenza viruses were in contact with proton-form zeolites compared to when the virus inactivation test was conducted using zeolites without metal cation ion-exchange.

Additionally, it was observed that viruses that contacted zeolites without metal cation ion-exchange retained their spherical shape, whereas viruses that contacted the proton-form zeolites were destroyed.

According to the release, the results indicate that the anti-viral effect of proton-form zeolites comes from the partial damage of the viral envelope when zeolites contact the virus, which leads to the total destruction of the virus.

“The study has found that proton-form zeolites are a promising novel material with powerful anti-viral properties even without metal cation ion-exchange, such as with Ag+,” wrote Nippon in its release.

“We have high expectations that proton-form zeolites will be used in many applications as an anti-viral material featuring low cost and discoloration resistance through research on anti-viral materials and coatings, making a significant contribution to reducing the risk of viral infections.”

The research, led by Professor Toru Wakihara of Graduate School of Engineering, was conducted as part of the joint research program based on the Industry-Academia Co-creation Agreement between The University of Tokyo and NPHD concluded on May 18, 2020. The program was established with the aim of conducting joint research for the post-COVID world based on the following themes:

  • Research on coating technologies with anti-viral and anti-bacterial functions to prevent the spread of infectious diseases;
  • Research on coating technologies that can support the foundation of a smart/remote society envisioned in the future and contribute to improving efficiency in society; and
  • Research on coating technologies that will contribute to reducing environmental loads and controlling social costs.

Recent COVID-19 Coating Research

Last month, a team of researchers from the University of Central Florida was awarded a patent for their nanomaterial-based disinfectant that can kill viruses, including COVID-19. Back in April of 2020, UCF reported that researchers were working to create a protective coating that would specifically target and kill the COVID-19 virus.

One goal was to add the coating to healthcare services materials such as masks, gowns, gloves and more.

The COVID-killing coating is reportedly made with a nanomaterial that activates under white light, like sunlight or LED light. It can regenerate its antiviral properties as long as the nanomaterial is exposed to a continuous light source, creating a self-cleaning effect.

In July of last year, a team of Australian researchers developed a sprayable coating capable of preventing the surface spread of infection from bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19. Reported to be a first of its kind, the spray is made up of a combination of plastics strong enough to be considered an alternative to bulletproof glass.

According to the University of Sydney, the developed spray coating provides a more reliable alternative to standard disinfectants, which are becoming less effective and require regular reapplication, but it is the only permanent surface layer proven to protect surfaces from virus contamination.

Researchers note that the coating is also safer than existing alternatives to disinfectants, with no harmful side effects and more stable potency.

To develop the coating, the team tested the mechanical stability and surface energy of the coating, in addition to its ability to resist contamination from bacteria and viruses by subjecting it to high concentrations of both.

During the testing phase, coating samples were submerged for extended periods of time and the sprayed surfaces were purposely damaged.

The research team further explained that the resulting coating works in two ways: it repels viruses and bacteria through air-filled barriers and is also capable of killing pathogens through microscopic materials, should a layer become damaged or submerged for extended periods.

The conclusive coating can be spray-applied, in the same way as traditional spray paint. However, the team notes that smaller quantities are still needed. Once finalized, it is hoped that the coating can be applied to a variety of public surfaces such as lift buttons, stair rails, surfaces in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and restaurants.


Tagged categories: Antibacterial coatings; Anti-microbial; Antimicrobial coatings; Asia Pacific; Coating chemistry; Coating Materials; Coating Materials - Commercial; Coatings; Coatings Technology; Colleges and Universities; COVID-19; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Good Technical Practice; Health & Safety; Health and safety; Latin America; Nippon Paint; North America; Research and development; Z-Continents

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