A US technology company claims it has made a "paint" that is 99.9 per cent effective at guarding against the virus that causes COVID-19.

You might have never heard of Corning but if you're reading this article on your smartphone you're probably holding one of its products.

The company is perhaps most well-known for making Gorilla Glass, the tough glass used to protect smartphone displays.

Now the company is hoping to offer a different sort of protection.

Last Thursday, Corning announced paints containing its Guardiant glass-ceramic technology had proven effective at killing 99.9 per cent of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

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An artist’s impression of self-sanitising surfaces fighting against viruses and bacteria.
An artist’s impression of self-sanitising surfaces fighting against viruses and bacteria.

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It also said the coatings worked against other bacteria and otherwise hard-to-kill noroviruses.

The antimicrobial effectiveness remained active even after a simulated six years of scrubbing.

"Our scientists have developed this unique paint additive using our highly engineered glass-ceramic technology," Corning chairman and CEO Wendell P. Weeks said, adding that the company was "excited about the new lab results".

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Copper is the key ingredient in Corning’s Guardiant technology.
Copper is the key ingredient in Corning’s Guardiant technology.

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Corning will partner with "leading paint and coating manufacturers" to produce products containing Guardiant, and is already working with paint maker PPG to gain approval for a paint.

PPG chairman and CEO Michael H. McGarry said the company was "proud to partner with Corning to continue innovating".

"Following registration with the EPA, we look forward to launching a paint product in the coming months that contains Corning Guardiant, providing customers with an additional safeguard from the coronavirus in areas that pose a higher health risk."

Professor Charles Gerba in the lab.
Professor Charles Gerba in the lab.

University of Arizona microbiology professor Charles Gerba said these sort "self-sanitising surfaces" were the "next step in infection control".

"We need these types of weapons in germ warfare more than ever," said Professor Gerba, who heads the university's lab that analysed results of the Guardiant product testing.

"These products have been demonstrated both in the laboratory and in hospital situations," he added.

Corning said other minerals used to create self-sanitising coatings didn’t stand up to more realistic dry testing.
Corning said other minerals used to create self-sanitising coatings didn’t stand up to more realistic dry testing.

Corning said copper was the key ingredient in the Guardiant technology, which unlike silver and zinc, performs well under dry conditions.

"The benefits of copper is that it's acting all the time and it targets more than just the cell wall or cell membrane … it's very broad spectrum."

The tests were conducted using methods approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency which Corning said mimic "in-use conditions" and "simulated realistic contamination, which is dry and invisible".

Originally published as Paint kills '99.9 per cent' of virus


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