An antiviral coating which could protect surfaces from coronavirus for 90 days has been developed by scientists.
The coating, called MAP-1, has taken 10 years to develop and can be sprayed on surfaces frequently used by the public, such as handrails and lift buttons to protect against coronaviruses , researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) say.
"These places are frequently touched, and, at the same time, serve as a very effective medium for transmission of diseases," said HKUST adjunct professor Joseph Kwan, one of the chief researchers.
The spray-on coating is created from millions of nano-capsules containing disinfectants which remain effective in killing bacteria, viruses and spores even after it has dried, Prof Kwan said.
He said MAP-1's efficacy is increased by heat-sensitive polymers that encapsulate and release disinfectants on human contact - unlike common disinfectants such as bleach or alcohol.
It is also non-toxic and safe for skin and the environment, researchers said.
MAP-1 was approved for official and mass consumer use in February after clinical tests at a Hong Kong hospital and care home earlier this year.
It will go on sale in Hong Kong shops next month and, with help from a charity, has been sprayed around the homes of more than a thousand low-income families in the city.
"I feel like it has strengthened our protection against the virus," said Law Ha-yu, a mother-of-two living in a 110sq ft "coffin" home that was recently sprayed.
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Shopping malls, schools and sports facilities across Hong Kong have been using the coating as well, according to researchers.
To spray an entire school it costs £2,050-£5,130, depending on its size.
Germagic, a unit of the university's industrial partner, Chiaphua Industries Ltd, is planning on introducing 50ml and 200ml versions for domestic use, with prices ranging from £70-£25.