While there is plenty of new products promising to rid the world of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, there seems to be a shortage of scientific evidence to support these claims.

There are any number of commercially available antiviral sprays and films claiming to provide surface protection for communities that to date have been untested.

In fact, as a COVID-19 precaution, many businesses have shut down access to commonly used terminals and screens to protect people against surface transmission of the virus. That has now changed.

For the first time peer reviewed scientific research on a selection of readily available antiviral surface protection products has been carried out to test their claims in an every- day, real world environment.

Clinical testing carried out by researchers from Nestlé Research’s, Institute of Food Safety and Analytical Science, in Lausanne, Switzerland on a number of protection products has now been published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology the journal of the American Society of Microbiology.

It showed that an Australian nanotechnology company, Nanoveu Ltd, has come out on top.

Testing found that the antiviral surface protection film Nanoshield, is highly effective in providing surface protection against SARS-COV-2.

The research concluded Nanoshield was the most effective at reducing SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) immediately, in durability testing and also effective despite the presence of other organic matter.

The research identified that while SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, is transmitted mainly by person-to-person through respiratory droplets, antiviral coating solutions offer an additional measure to mitigate the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from high-touch surfaces.

“The deployment of antiviral coatings is not new, but what is currently lacking is solid scientific evidence of the efficacy of commercially available self-disinfecting surfaces under real-life conditions,” the Nestle report stated.

A novel and robust approach to evaluate the antiviral activity of coatings was developed, assessing three commercially available leave-on surface coating products for efficacy against human coronaviruses HCoV-229E and SARS-CoV-2.

The assessment is based on three criteria that reflect real-life settings, namely (i) immediate antiviral effect, (ii) effect after repeated cleaning of the coated surface, and (iii) antiviral activity in the presence of organic material. The results showed that only a copper compound-based coating successfully met all three criteria.

The Nestle research identified that this new approach now creates a benchmark upon which all currently available antiviral coatings and future coating developments should be judged to avoid unjustified claims.

Not surprisingly, Nannoveu executive chair and CEO, Alfred Chong, welcomed the results.

“In the current environment a lot of claims are being made about the efficacy of commercially available antiviral products without solid scientific evidence,” he said.

 “We have long believed the importance of scientific research in the efficacy of our products, and we welcome the validation of our claims as the leading antiviral coatings for high touch surfaces.”

Chong said Nanoveu’s copper-based technology has demonstrated to be highly effective in a number of real-world scenarios, outperforming other products including quaternary ammonium compounds which lose their efficiency in the normal course of cleaning, and reactive oxygen species which are not effective in everyday environments.

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