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Scientists develop self-sterilising plastic

View profile for Tom Mooney
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Scientists develop self-sterilising plastic

A team at Queen’s University Belfast recently announced they have developed a virus killing plastic which could help to stop the spread of viruses, such as covid.

The plastic reacts with UV light (such as the light released from a fluorescent bulb) to release molecules called reactive oxygen species. The species then react with a virus’ genetic material, killing the virus and stopping it in its tracks.

Studies have previously shown that covid is able to survive for up to 72 hours on some surfaces. Other viruses, such as norovirus, can survive for much longer. However, the team from the university have confirmed that, in controlled tests, after exposing their plastic to viruses, an effect was seen within minutes and the virus was thereafter eradicated after two hours.

It is hoped that the plastic could be used in protective equipment such as aprons. Other uses being investigated include hospital tablecloths and curtains. However, it seems likely that further creative use of the plastic would seemingly be possible in the future.

With millions of invitations being sent out this week, inviting our most vulnerable to book an autumn booster, it is apparent that the world continues to live with the effects of covid. It is this writer’s hope that the ongoing ingenuity of our scientists will keep us one step ahead of the virus and help keep the nation healthy.

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