William Ducker is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech. His research focus is on Surface Chemistry, antimicrobial coatings, surfactants, polymers and colloids. He is the author of about 130 papers and 3 patents. His most recent work has been on coatings that continuously inactivate SARS-CoV-2. He has a Ph.D. and B.Sc. from the Australian National University and was formerly a Professor at the University of Melbourne.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, remains viable on solids for periods of up to one week, so one potential route for human infection is via exposure to an infectious dose from a solid. We have fabricated and tested a coating that is designed to reduce the longevity of SARS-CoV-2 on solids. The coating consists of cuprous oxide (Cu2O) particles bound with polyurethane. After one hour on coated glass or stainless steel, the viral titer was reduced by about 99.9% on average compared to the uncoated sample. An advantage of a polyurethane-based coating is that polyurethane is already used to coat a large number of everyday objects. Our coating adheres well to glass and stainless steel, as well as everyday items that people may fear to touch during a pandemic, such as doorknobs, pens and credit card keypad buttons. The coating performs well in the cross-hatch durability test and remains intact and active after 13 days immersed in water, or after exposure to multiple cycles of exposure to virus and disinfection. Other coatings will also be discussed.