Pitt Researchers Engineer Virus-Repelling Coating

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) Swanson School of Engineering in the LAMP Lab have developed a textile coating that can repel liquids, including blood and saliva, and also prevents viruses from adhering to the surface. According to the researchers, testing showed the coating remains just as effective after tens of ultrasonic washings, thousands of rotations with a scrubbing pad and even after scraping with a sharp razor blade.

Initially, the coating was tested against human adenovirus types 4 and 7. The next step for researchers is to test how effective the coating is against betacoronaviruses, such as the virus that causes COVID-19.

“We want to push the boundary on what is possible with these types of surfaces, and especially given the current pandemic, we knew it’d be important to test against viruses,” said Anthony Galante, a Ph.D. student in industrial engineering and lead author of the paper.

“If the treated fabric would repel betacoronaviruses, and in particular SARS-CoV-2, this could have a huge impact for healthcare workers and even the general public if PPE, scrubs, or even clothing could be made from protein, blood-, bacteria-, and virus-repelling fabrics,” said Eric Romanowski, research director at Pitt’s Charles T. Campbell Microbiology Laboratory.

The team’s paper, “Superhemophobic and Antivirofouling Coating for Mechanically Durable and Wash-Stable Medical Textiles,” was published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Surfaces.

May/June 2020