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WHAT’S NEW?


SWITCHING TO LONG-TERM ANTIMICROBIAL NANO- COATINGS TO MEET COVID-19


SECURE REGULATIONS Simon Mercer, Director at Signo- Nanocare, looks at how to smooth the transition back to normality by leveraging key antimicrobial tools.


With the UK government’s ‘roadmap out of lockdown’, parents look to a return to school and hope lies in the vaccines leading to the easing of restrictions and some semblance of normal life - whilst the inevitable coronavirus spikes are contained.


It is accepted that all viruses, including SARS CoV-2, will mutate over time as they make copies of themselves and spread. The frequency of viral mutations refl ects why fl u vaccinations are developed yearly, each being to combat the current most prevalent strain. We can expect to see similar with SARS CoV-2.


26 | TOMORROW’S FM


The original SARS CoV-2 virus has already gone through many mutations. Some can weaken the virus and speed its demise, while others, such as the Kent, South African and Brazil variants, are more challenging. These have been identifi ed as ‘signifi cantly more transmissible’ than the original strain. While there is much debate around vaccine effi ciency in relation to the new variants, thankfully they do not appear to be linked with an increase in mortality.


The reality is that even with ‘Hands - Space – Face’ awareness, there remains a signifi cant opportunity for SARS CoV-2 or one of the recently identifi ed variants (Kent, Brazilian and South African) to be easily transmitted between people through hands-surface-hands transfer.


While increased and more visible ‘moment in time’ cleaning goes some way to reducing transmissible infection (viral and/or bacterial),


the reality is that many microbes that land on surfaces survive for a signifi cant period of time, and just one touch can move transient microbes around a school offi ce, public space or home in minutes.


Research into the lifespan of SARS CoV-2 has been carried out by CSIRO, Australia’s national science research agency. It investigated the survival of infectious SARS-CoV-2, suspended in an artifi cial mucous, on six common surfaces, carrying out the tests at three different temperature settings, 20°C, 30°C and 40°C. The surfaces tested were selected to represent those most touched in everyday life: stainless steel, glass, vinyl, paper and polymer banknotes and cotton cloth.


Their fi ndings were as follows: “At 20°C we found that the virus was extremely robust. We were able to recover infectious material at 28 days from all the smooth (non-porous) surfaces. These are stainless steel, glass, vinyl, and paper and polymer


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