In a novel breakthrough, researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed a transparent coating made from glass, metallics and ceramics including computer or tablet screens, smartphones, ATMs, TVs, handrails, lifts, urinals, toilet seats, fridges, microwaves and ceramic floor, door handles, wall tiles, and other daily use items.
The new water-based solution can be sprayed onto any glass, ceramic or metallic surface during the production process, rendering the surface 99.9% resistant to super-bugs. The solution is first sprayed on the product and then ‘baked’ into it, forming a super-hard surface. The coating will assist in protecting people against deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including MRSA, E coli and other fungi.
According to Suresh C Pillai from Institute of Technology Sligo (IT Sligo) in Ireland who led the study, “It is absolutely wonderful to finally be at this stage. This breakthrough will change the whole fight against super-bugs. It can effectively control the spread of bacteria….every single person has a sea of bacteria on their hands. The mobile phone is the most contaminated personal item that we can have. Bacteria grow on the phone and can live there for up to five months”.
According to researchers, using nanotechnology, the discovery provides an effective and practical antimicrobial solution, an agent that kills micro-organisms or inhibits their growth and can be further used to protect a range of daily use items.
Scientists have been in a race to find a way of preventing the spread of the bacteria which causes the super-bugs. These researchers involved first developed the revolutionary material to work on ceramics and have spent the last five years adapting the formula – which is non-toxic and has no harmful bi-products. The coating is transparent, permanent and scratch resistant and actually forms a harder surface than the original glass or ceramic material.
The discovery could control the spread of super-bugs which experts fear are on course to kill 10 million people every year by 2050 — more than will die from cancer, the researchers have suggested.
The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.