Role of Antimicrobial Paints in Preventing Future Pandemics

Rajashekharayya A. Sanguramath, PhD and Ariel Antonio Franco, PhD

Antimicrobial Paints

he COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis that has had an adverse impact on health-care institutions, economy, and social well-being of the population. During this pandemic over 200 million people infected, over 5 million people lost their lives and trillions of dollars vanished from the businesses and markets. Substantial changes had to be made to the way we live, travel, and conduct business. Furthermore, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the existing health threats associated with the issue of rapidly growing antibacterial resistance. An estimated 700,000 annual deaths are attributed to the failed antibiotic treatments, and this number unfortunately is rising. So, what can we do to prevent pandemics that are inevitable in the future?

To prevent the spread of infectious diseases, it is important to understand the routes of disease transmission. For example, the SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs mainly through the air in the form of respiratory droplets or aerosol particles, but the studies have suggested that the contaminated surfaces are also a cause of concern as viruses are known to linger on different surfaces for a longer duration and remain infectious. Industries and academic institutions especially during this pandemic, escalated their rate of innovation to introduce novel solutions and products that enable disease prevention through continuous and rapid disinfection of frequently touched surfaces. Antimicrobial wall paints are among such products introduced to mitigate the microbial cross-contamination.

Paints are more than a surface covering

ntimicrobial paints are the surface coatings that contain an active additive to continuously destroy pathogenic bacteria and viruses on contact. Usually, Isothiazolinone based biocides are added to the paint formulation for the purpose preservation and to increase their shelf-life, however, these biocides are less effective the on painted surfaces against disease causing bacteria and viruses. In the last few years, antimicrobial additives such as quaternary ammonium compounds (Quats), silver salts and silver nanoparticles, and copper particles are added to the paints. Quats have demonstrated high killing efficacy against a broad-spectrum of bacteria, but in the paint formulations they are ineffective against viruses. Quats are also relatively expensive to produce and are reported to be toxic for human and aquatic life.

Silver salts and silver nanoparticles are among the most widely used inorganic antimicrobials. Silver compounds exhibit antimicrobial activity through the release Ag+ ions, these ions in turn are highly effective in killing a broad-spectrum bacteria, but again in the paint formulations are ineffective against viruses. As the silver additive in the paint gradually dissolve to release Ag+ ions, it’s antimicrobial activity will be substantially affected over a period of time and might cease to exist much before the lifespan of paint.

Copper based antimicrobial paints are a much recent addition to the market and their main advantage is that they show high killing efficacy against both bacteria and viruses. Copper particles in paint also gradually dissolve to produce Cu(I)/Cu(II) ions and these ions eradicate pathogens through multiple non-specific mechanisms. Copper containing paint additives are produced in a complex and expensive process. Moreover, if the antimicrobial activity is achieved through the dissolution of particles, duration of the activity will be limited. Thus, there is need for antimicrobial solutions that are relatively simple to produce, less toxic, and have durable activity.

Nanosono’s Lab

Nanosono is an Israeli based nanotechnology start-up that has developed innovative antimicrobial solutions suitable for a range of products including acrylic paints. Nanosono’s antimicrobial paint additive is a nanocomposite that can be cost-effectively produced and easily introduced during the paint manufacturing process without requiring any process changes. Antimicrobial paints have shown more than 99.9% killing efficacy on contact against a broad-spectrum of bacteria and human coronavirus. Unlike other antimicrobial additives, the antimicrobial activity is not affected during the lifetime of paints and the mode of activity is not based on release of toxic chemicals or heavy metal ions. Pathogens killing efficacy of the Nanosono’s advanced additive can be explained based on its two main characteristics; positive surface charge and the ability to release reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are the aggressive oxidizing agents that can react and damage proteins, lipids, and DNA of the pathogens.

Over the recent past, the demand for antimicrobial paints is growing at a staggering pace. According to a report by verified market research, the global antimicrobial paint market is projected to grow from USD 2.8 Bn in 2018 to USD 6.6 Bn in 2026, at a CAGR of 11.39% between 2018 and 2026. So as to meet the projected growth rate, the paint market is seeking innovative antimicrobial paint additives that are highly active against pathogens, durable, and cost-effective. Such innovations are necessary to control the current pandemic and may be to prevent the next one.

Dr. Rajashekharayya A. Sanguramath is the Research Manager & an expert in polymer science at Nanosono
Dr. Ariel Antonio Franco, is the CTO & expert in nanotechnology at Nanosono

Learn more on how to make you product antimicrobial

NANOSONO was founded with a mission to offer game-changing antimicrobial solutions to fight against infections and diseases worldwide