Towards antiviral polymer composites to combat COVID‐19 transmission

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Polymer matrix composites are used to produce a wide range of products that are "high‐touch" surfaces, such as sporting goods, laptop computers and household fittings, and these surfaces can be readi...
This review examines published research into the retention and survival of SARS‐CoV‐2 and related viruses on polymer surfaces, the factors that influence the retention of viruses, including SARS‐CoV‐2, on plastics, and discusses the applicability of this research to polymer composite materials. We critically appraise the various surface treatment methods that have the potential to impart antiviral properties to polymer composite materials. Such techniques include the addition of polymers and metals (such as copper and silver) with intrinsically antiviral properties or biocidal doping agents to the composite matrix, embedding of nanoparticles within the surface layer, and direct surface modification by the process of nanotexturing. Furthermore, we identify the critical areas and perspectives for further research into controlling and reducing the potential risks presented by polymer composite materials in the transmission of viral diseases such as COVID‐19.

Fiber‐reinforced polymer composite materials are used extensively in the production of objects with "high‐touch" surfaces, such as mobile phone cases, sporting goods, bathroom and kitchen fittings, and the interior surfaces of rail carriages, boats and passenger aircraft. Reducing the risk of indirect transmission of viruses via the surface of polymer composite materials is, therefore, a crucial public health issue. To the best of our knowledge, there is no published research into determining the ability for viruses to survive on polymer composite materials, which is an important factor in establishing the risk of indirect transmission from an infected person to an infection‐susceptible person (Figure 1 ). Similarly, there is no published research into methods by which composite surfaces can be modified in order to reduce the potential risk for indirect virus transmission. Nevertheless, several reports have shown that viruses (usually residing within droplets) can be retained on plastic surfaces. A number of…
Adrian P. Mouritz, School Of Engineering Rmit University Gpo Box Melbourne Victoria Australia, Joel Galos, Denver P. Linklater, School Of Science Rmit University Gpo Box Melbourne Victoria Australia, Raj B. Ladani, Everson Kandare, Russell J. Crawford, Elena P. Ivanova, Corresponding Author
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