Patches Developed May Be Effective Against Coronavirus

DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - A product developed by researchers at West Texas A&M has been shown to protect surfaces from viruses and bacteria, and it is now being tested for effectiveness against COVID-19.

Graduate engineering students developed the copper-based foil adhesive. West Texas A&M is now installing them over door handles.

"Copper is one of the oldest anti-microbials we've used ever," sats Emily Hunt, the dean of the College of Engineering at West Texas A&M. "It was the first metal approved by the EPA as an anti-microbial."

The Texas A&M system is a stakeholder in a partnership that commercializes research at West Texas A&M. Previous patents awarded to BTG Products include other linings and molded products with industrial applications to inhibit the growth of microorganisms.

Hunt says the adhesives, called "Copper Clean" stickers, can be installed on door handles and other high-touch surfaces. She says the adhesives prevent microorganisms from replicating.

"Once that happens, you've effectively killed the microbe," she says. "It's good for surfaces where multiple hands will be touching it over and over again, and it just prevents the spread from one person to another.​"

Hunt says the stickers are made with a copper alloy that has been shown to kill "99.9 percent of harmful pathogens, like MRSA and E. coli within two hours." She says the materials have also been effective against a different strain of coronavirus.

"They are going to be tested for COVID-19, but that's very new and people are just starting testing with it," Hunt says. "But it is effective against other virus strains."

While testing for effectiveness against COVID-19 continues, Hunt says BTG Products has already seen an increase in orders for the stickers.

"We're producing them as quickly as we can," she says. "We're all connected to small business owners. We all have people who are working in industries where these could have a major impact."

West Texas A&M expects to have the stickers installed on door handles and other surfaces over the next week.

“Sometimes a complex problem requires a common sense solution,” John Sharp, the chancellor of the Texas A&M System, wrote in a statement. “Dr. Hunt and her team deserve a lot of credit for doing their part to address the biggest problem facing the world today.”

Stickers are available for $24.50 at coppercleanus.com. West Texas A&M says money raised from the sales will fund additional research on campus.