A new spray set to go on sale in Hong Kong in May protects against coronaviruses for 90 days, Sky News reports.
The spray, called MAP-1, was invented at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and its developers claim it can provide 90 days of "significant" protection against bacteria and viruses including the one that causes COVID-19.
It is not toxic and can be stuck on surfaces that are frequently touched, such as elevator buttons or handrails.
"These places that are frequently touched, and, at the same time, serve a very effective fomite or medium for transmission of diseases," said Professor Joseph Kwan, one of the lead researchers. "So with that, the application of the product would be most effective in preventing transmission of diseases."
The research took 10 years to complete and found that the coating that forms after a spray was effective in killing bacteria, viruses and spores.
MAP-1 works through millions of nano-capsules that contain disinfectants. Unlike diluted bleach or alcohol the coating also contains heat-sensitive compounds and release the disinfectant on human contact.
"And when somebody touches on it, the polymer material can feel the temperature increase of the body heat and they would open up and release the disinfectant," Kwan said. "Once you remove your hand, they will close up, and thus conserving the disinfectant."
The coating was approved for official and mass consumer use in February, and will be available in Hong Kong stores in May.
With help from a local charity, the non-toxic coating already has been sprayed around the homes of more than a thousand low-income families in Hong Kong.
"I feel like it has strengthened our protection against the virus," said Law Ha-yu, whose home was sprayed.
Shopping malls, schools and sports facilities also have been sprayed.
Bottles for home use would cost about $31 USD for about 2 ounces or $87 for 7 ounces.
Spraying a school could cost between $2,500 to $6,000.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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