The technology was discussed at a virtual event hosted by the Royal Society of Chemistry and the British Coatings Federation (BCF) last month, which involved over 130 technical industry specialists, academics, and healthcare and transport organisation representatives pooling ideas for techniques to tackle the pandemic.
Anti-viral coatings, which contain agents that prevent microorganisms from growing on surfaces, emerged as a key theme of the webinar.
They are being researched for potential use in clinics, industry, and domestic environments – but there are both technical challenges and regulatory hurdles to overcome before the coatings can be put in place.
Tom Bowtell, chief executive of the British Coatings Federation, said: “There has been a terrific response from our members, many of whom have products or technologies with the potential to address urgent needs in the current crisis.
“Tackling regulatory hurdles will be one of the major challenges for such bio-active technologies, and our regulatory affairs team will be actively engaging with the relevant authorities at UK and EU level to support the efforts of companies as an urgent priority.”
Those at the event are now continuing discussions in a dedicated channel on the collaborative Slack platform, which new participants are welcome to join on request.
Helen Pain, acting chief executive at the Royal Society of Chemistry, added: “While we already have a number of technologies and techniques at our disposal, there is a clear need to accelerate research output and this meeting represented a crucial step towards advancing that.
“It’s crucial that the direction taken from here is representative of the diverse range of views and experience from across the anti-viral community, which is why we are calling on anyone with relevant insights to join our Surface Coatings Interest Group as we further these discussions.”
Antimicrobial coatings have been in use for a number of specialist printing applications for some time.