The ongoing coronavirus pandemic may derailed public life as we know it, but it has not slowed the pace at which the materials science revolution is yielding research breakthroughs.
Whether it’s the development of vaccines, rapid tests, new treatment methods or novel materials for personal protective equipment (PPE) at neck-breaking speeds – we’re seeing innovation unfold in front of our very eyes as materials science provides “platform technologies and tools for virus research.”
And while vaccines continue to dominate the positive news cycle on the COVID-19 front, we may be one step closer to having another weapon in the arsenal to fight this and future viruses:
Corning Inc., a materials science innovator and leader in specialty glass and ceramics manufacturing, has partnered with Pittsburgh, PA-based PPG, which supplies paints, coatings, and specialty materials to develop a new paint that reportedly kills 99.9% of COVID-19 on surfaces. While this will not stop airborne transmission of the virus, the antimicrobial and antiviral properties of the mineral-based paint should help reduce transmission via high-touch surfaces in places like schools and hospitals.
Not surprisingly for followers of ARPN, Corning Guardiant, which is used in the the paints and coatings for which Corning and PPE are currently seeking EPA registration, contains copper. Copper’s antimicrobial properties, especially when applied to surfaces, have been well documented and regularly discussed on our blog.
Congressman Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional district, whom followers of ARPN will know as the co-chair of the recently-launched bi-partisan Critical Materials Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives (co-chaired with Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-CA) has lauded the development as a potential breakthrough, stating: “If we’re worried about transmitting viruses and bacteria through surfaces, if we can coat that surface with a coating that’s antimicrobial, then it will by definition kill the bacteria and stop the spread.” He added: “This can make a big difference when we have many antimicrobial, antiviral coatings that we would use in paints.”
With materials science transforming the way we use metals and minerals at lightning speed, and with supply chain pressures looming large, the importance of the Critical Materials Caucus is only set to increase in the coming months, as it can become an important champion of potentially life-changing innovations like the one referenced above.
Learn more about the COVID-fighting paints and coatings here.