McMaster inventors’ repellent wrap shown to shed all viruses and bacteria
RepelWrap, a self-cleaning plastic wrap developed by McMaster researchers Leyla Soleymani and Tohid Didar, protects surfaces from dangerous bacteria as well as viruses, new research shows. Repelwrap is now moving toward scaled-up production for the marketplace.
BY Wade Hemsworth
February 28, 2022
New research by the inventors of a promising pathogen-repellent wrap has confirmed that it sheds not only bacteria, as previously proven, but also viruses, boosting its potential usefulness for interrupting the transmission of infections.
The new wrap, designed to protect against contamination on high-touch surfaces such as door handles and railings, is now moving toward scaled-up production through FendX Technologies, Inc., which last year licensed the technology developed by inventors Leyla Soleymani and Tohid Didar, both from the Faculty of Engineering.
“This is a line of defence against emerging pathogens, including future threats we have not yet seen,” Soleymani says.
“This technology closes the door to the surface transfer of pathogens,” Didar says. “Everything is moving in the right direction as this invention continues to evolve and move toward the marketplace.”
Soleymani, Didar and their McMaster colleagues have published three new papers about RepelWrap – two of them on this week– since their proof-of-concept research was first made public in December 2019, on the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first of the new papers, published last month in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, shows the wrap has the same effect using a new formulation which eliminates the use of fluorine, a chemical associated with health and environmental concerns.
The second paper, published Monday in the nanotechnology journal Small, demonstrates a novel manufacturing method that transforms the wrap into highly flexible transparent films that repel pathogens and prevent blood clots under flow, to be used in medical catheters and tubing. The team has filed patents for the new technologies.
The third paper, published Monday in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, shows the surface of the wrap is effective in repelling not just bacteria, as demonstrated in the proof-of-concept research, but also viruses, substantially increasing its utility.
The latest research, using a real-world model developed by researcher Ali Ashkar’s lab in McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, shows how the wrap sheds a herpes virus and a coronavirus closely related to SARS-CoV-2 in structure, meaning it is highly likely to repel COVID itself.
The product works using a self-cleaning surface design microscopically “tuned” to shed everything that comes into contact with it, down to the scale of viruses and bacteria. The design was inspired by the surface of the water-shedding lotus leaf.