New Smart Anti-Microbial Coating in the Fight Against COVID-19

A research team led by Prof. YEUNG King Lun, Professor of the Division of Environment and Sustainability, has developed a Multilevel Antimicrobial Polymer (MAP-1) coating that is effective in killing viruses, bacteria and even hard-to-kill spores.  MAP-1 can inactivate* up to 99.9 per cent of highly-infectious viruses such as measles, mumps and rubella, and 99.99 per cent of the surrogate feline calicivirus (FCV) - a gold standard for disinfection efficiency and is more resistant than coronaviruses such as the one responsible for COVID-19 epidemic.


MAP-1 coating is confirmed to be effective against drug-resistant microorganisms during two field studies in the Kowloon Hospital and Haven of Hope Woo Ping Care and Attention Home.  Its use in hospital privacy curtains saw over 98.7% reduction in drug-resistant bacteria in 3 weeks. Beyond hospitals, the team works with the Water Supplies Department and the Drainage Service Department to field test MAP-1 in coating materials for water pipes and sewage drainages to prevent microbial contamination and infrastructure corrosion.


MAP-1 coating is highly versatile with an effective period of up to 90 days.  It provides lasting protection and surface disinfection against microbial contamination. According to the Technical Standard for Disinfection issued by the National Health Commission in Mainland China, the coating is proven to be non-toxic and is safe for skin and the environment, hence it also allows MAP-1 to be made into hand sanitizers, paints and coating, filter materials for air and water purification, as well as clothing and surgical masks to safeguard the health of the individual and public.


In efforts to help the society fight the Covid-19 outbreak, HKUST, in collaboration with its industrial partner Chiaphua Industries Limited (CIL), has applied the smart coating to over 70 daycare centers, elderly homes, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools.  Other venues include shopping malls, school buses, churches and sports training facilities.  CIL has also donated up to HK$1.5 million worth of anti-microbial air filters – a potent air purification technology developed by Prof Yeung’s team in 2017, to various hospitals in the mainland, including Wuhan’s emergency Huoshenshan Hospital.


* Inactivating a virus literally means killing it, but it’s more proper to use the word ‘inactivate’ as virus is not considered alive, they only replicate and propagate when they find a host.