Researchers develop Covid-killing steel, say can destroy 99.8% of virus
Researchers in Hong Kong claimed to have developed the world’s first stainless steel that kills the coronavirus within hours amid the rapidly spreading latest variant, Omicron.
According to a study published on November 25 by a team of researchers at the University of Hong Kong, the newly-developed alloy can inactivate 99.75 per cent of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, within three hours and 99.99 per cent within six hours.
The researchers, led by Huang Mingxin at the department of mechanical engineering and Leo Poon at the Centre for Immunity and Infection, have said the alloy’s antimicrobial property is long-term, even if it is continuously damaged during service, and it can be produced using existing “powder metallurgy” technique keeping costs low.
The researchers are also talking to industrial partners to test the new alloy, which adds copper to the stainless steel mix, in creating steel products such as lift buttons, doorknobs and handrails that are among the most commonly touched surfaces in public areas.
The coronavirus can stay on surfaces for more than two days.
The researchers said the alloy can protect against other disease-causing microbes as well. The “anti-pathogen stainless steel also exhibits an excellent inactivation ability” for H1N1 influenza A virus and the Escherichia coli bacteria, they added.
Their claim comes as the Omicron variant, which was detected in southern Africa on November 24, is rapidly spreading across the world and has forced countries to reimpose travel curbs and rethink reopening plans.
The coronavirus has undergone multiple mutations, five of which have been declared variants of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO). More than 266 million people have contracted Covid-19 and over 5.2 million have died across the world during the pandemic so far.