Washington (AFP)

U.S. Scientists Develop Sticky Wallcovering That Reuses Ingredients Used In Making Conditioners To Capture Airborne Droplets, And Hope It Can Help Fight Covid-19 or Others airborne diseases, they said on Wednesday.

The substance can be applied to surfaces such as plexiglass partitions to capture droplets projected when someone speaks or breathes, and prevent them from remaining in the air.

"Droplets collide with interior surfaces all the time," said Jiaxing Huang, professor at Northwestern University and lead author of an article on the subject published Wednesday in the journal Chem.

“Right now, plexiglass partitions are deflection devices; they deflect droplets. If a surface could actually trap droplets, then every droplet removed from indoor air would be a successful removal of a potential source of transmission."

Covid-19 is transmitted primarily by air, including droplets and aerosols emitted when an infected person speaks, sneezes or breathes.

The main way to remove them from the air is to open the windows and use devices with high air filtration, which capture fine particles and renew the air at a high rate.

To enhance protection, Jiaxing Huang and colleagues came up with the idea of ​​using PAAm-DDA, a polymer commonly used in hair products and other cosmetics to retain moisture, as the main ingredient in their coating.

They applied the substance using a brush to various surfaces and performed tests to compare coated and uncoated surfaces.

One plexiglass partition coated with the product captured almost all of the micro-droplets in the air, and 80% of the large droplets, compared to one that was uncoated.

The coating did not visibly soil after use and, according to the scientists, did not require more frequent cleaning.

Once saturated, the substance should be washed off with water, and then reapplied.

Since it can be applied to various surfaces including concrete, metal or fabrics, Huang considers that it could be used on walls or curtains.

Before its use is authorized, further research is needed to confirm the usefulness of the coating.

“The current pandemic could end before this concept is implemented,” Huang said.

"But next time, when an epidemic like this occurs, I think we'll be better equipped."

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