As the world grapples with the impact of COVID-19 and with fears of second and third waves of the pandemic, antiviral, antimicrobial surface coatings are being explored by paint and coatings manufacturers, researchers, and other stakeholders in order to try prevention of further transmission of the disease. Recent studies have shown that Coronaviruses can stay on metal, glass and other surfaces for a long time depending on various factors like temperature, surface material, the specific strain of the virus etc. While the virus requires a living host to reproduce and thrive, indirect contact with the virus via contaminated surfaces is a major point of concern.
Here is the survival span of Coronavirus on various surfaces:
Snapshots of Research Initiatives in Wake of COVID19
IP Trend in Antiviral Surface Coatings
Japan is the base for a few of the worlds leading coating/chemical industries like MITSUBISHI CHEMICAL, NIPPON PAINT, SUMITOMO CHEMICAL etc. That might be the reason that Japan is the most preferred jurisdiction for patent filing in the domain of antiviral coating followed by the United States. China stands third in the list. The domination of Asian countries in the domain might be due to significant enhancement in the R&D base of coating & speciality chemical industries within Asia.
End-User Applications utilizing Antiviral Coatings
Building/Household applications are the leading one of the antiviral and antimicrobial coating applications. Within this segment, building(s) interior/exterior walls, floors, windows, doors, handles, bathroom, and its accessories have been covered.
The figure indicates that an effort was made to cover almost all kind of surfaces through by various patent applications claiming antiviral coatings/films. Textile is the second-largest application area for antiviral coating in which the compounds have been mixed with fibres of woven/non-woven material.
Some opportunity areas in the antiviral coatings space:
For food packaging, creating an antiviral coating or film is a challenge because most commonly known agents such as metal oxides may incur toxicity. Green tea extract has been shown to have antiviral property. Moreover, green tea can be easily mingled with biopolymers like chitosan or PHB in order to create bio-based packaging. Other natural agents like monolaurin present in coconut milk and aliginate oleic acid are also known to have antiviral properties.
Encapsulated antiviral coating agent using biobased polymers can be a good alternative to nanoparticles. In this manner, it will reduce ecotoxicity and at the same time will be helpful in controlled release of antiviral agents from the core. Encapsulation shell can be designed to manipulate the release based on different parameter like touch, thermal changes etc.
Graphene has played a revolutionary role in the last decade within the chemical industry. Graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets are capable of interacting with and killing microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses by disrupting their plasma membrane or by producing reactive oxygen species to cause oxidative stress, due to their two-dimensional shape, sharp edges, and negatively charged surfaces. In the same way, fullerene can be also utilized for the same purpose
Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is also another compound which is quite less explored. It is broad-spectrum and can inhibit bacteria, molds, and viruses on contact. Available as a self-spreading compound or additive to a coating polymer, the system can clean any surface including air ducts, floors, walls, ceilings, clothing, outdoor gear, electronic components, public transportation surfaces, food preparation areas, medical facilities, and more.
Future perspective & demand for antiviral coatings
COVID – `19 has triggered immense interest in antiviral and antimicrobial coatings. People are cautious about touching any packaged article, door handles, and other surfaces where there could be a risk of transmission.
Antiviral additives can add a viricidal property to these articles and can reduce surface-based viral transmission significantly. There is increasing demand from various sectors such as healthcare and medical antiviral polymers. Antiviral polymers possess properties such as high defence activity, hardness, durability, and transparency and they are used in non-toxic plastic equipment. With the rise in hospital-acquired infections, infection proof additives are being used in air vents to prevent the transfer of communicable diseases.
Going forward, the demand for antiviral and antimicrobial coatings will continue to grow as the focus would be towards ensuring safe and sterile environments to hinder the possibility of another global pandemic.
So how promising is the antiviral coating industry, what are the current happenings and what can be the predicted trends?
Answers to a few of the above questions like these can be derived after detailed research and analysis.
We at TTC conducted a market study and have complied our understanding in this report. Check it out here.
Co-authors: Ranjit Singh and Arthi Jeevanand