American Airlines is testing a newly approved antimicrobial protective coating that is able to make the coronavirus inactive on aircraft surfaces for up to seven days.
The odorless, transparent protectant, called SurfaceWise2, was developed by the Dallas-based Allied BioScience, which specializes in antimicrobial coatings for use in public spaces. The company says “the non-toxic coating is applied via an electrostatic spray to provide always-on protection on treated surfaces” and “continuously kill 99.9 percent of viruses.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved its use in Texas, where American Airlines is based, under an emergency public health exemption (Texas-based Total Orthopedic Sport & Spine also will be allowed to try the product). But Allied BioScience is seeking approval for SurfaceWise2 to be used throughout the U.S. and in a wide range of settings.
"There are very few environments where this wouldn't be useful; it makes sense anywhere there are people trying to get back to work or back to school or back to sports,” says Jess Hilton, Allied BioScience's chief marketing officer.
"Anytime a disease-causing virus or bacteria lands on it, it starts killing it,” says Charles Gerba, a microbiologist, professor of virology and one of the researchers at the University of Arizona who's been involved in testing the product for the past 10 years. They found that it reduced bacterial infections by 36 percent when used in hospital patient rooms and common areas, according to their study published in Clinical Infectious Disease in October 2019.