Scientists at the University of Canterbury's Advanced Energy and Material Lab in New Zealand are developing a self-cleaning surface coat that destroys bacteria when exposed to light, according to an article on the TVNZ website.
The research into the coating — which could destroy bacteria and viruses on high-touch surfaces - such as handles and rails - has received the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment's (MBIE) gold status rating for the second consecutive year.
The coating, being developed in the MBIE-funded project, is a non-toxic photocatalyst ceramic, which produces continuous oxygen radicals at the surface - burning up the microbes left there by hands, but also by contact with clothing and airborne pathogens, the article said.
Researchers say the technology to make the coating has been developed at the university over the past 10 years and could be ready for manufacturers to use in their antimicrobial products by 2020 or sooner.
"Hospital-acquired infections affect both vulnerable and relatively healthy people, largely through incidental transmission rather than through any breakdown of hygiene protocols," Professor Susan Krumdieck of UC's Mechanical Engineering department said in the article.