Durable Visible Light-activated Antiviral Coatings for Fabrics Used for Personal

Period of Performance: 07/01/2008 - 06/30/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Laamscience, Inc.
Morrisville, NC 27560
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Influenza and other enveloped viruses are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide each year and cost the US economy over $70 billion each year in medical costs and lost work. A new approach to preventing the spread of viral infections in general, and influenza in particular, would be of benefit. Influenza enters the body through the nose or throat. NIOSH estimates that 90 million N95 filtering faceplate respirators will be needed to protect workers in the healthcare sector alone during a 42-day outbreak, likely requiring re-use of respirators. Opportunities exist for simple, efficacious decontamination methods that reduce the risk of infection through handling a contaminated respirator and that do not compromise respirator effectiveness. Using our proprietary technology, LaamScience is developing coatings useful for a durable, self-regenerating, and cost- effective N95 mask with a broad spectrum of viral inactivation. Importantly, the mechanism of inactivation will not lead to microbial resistance. We are developing a fiber treatment using photoactive dyes that inactivate enveloped viruses upon illumination with visible light. Candidate dyes have been chosen that generate the most singlet oxygen [the active antiviral agent] per unit light intensity for light sources simulating solar, incandescent, and fluorescent lighting. We propose to modify air filtration textiles with these dye coatings and test efficacy to significantly inactivate influenza viruses trapped on the face mask fiber. The objective of this phase I feasibility project is to develop effective, stable dye-carrier combinations that will provide inexpensive filtration textiles with high antiviral activity. Dye-carrier combinations will be optimized to preserve dye activity upon attachment to the carrier. Coating or "Finishing" methods will be defined for applying the photoactive dye-carrier combinations to air filtration surfaces that allow maximum singlet oxygen generation / antiviral activity. The efficacy of modified surfaces will be determined by dosing the surfaces with virus, exposing them to selected light intensities, temperature, and humidity conditions and assaying the rate and extent of viral inactivation. Milestones are: 1] Select the most cost-effective dye-carrier combinations that retain the highest level of singlet oxygen production and antiviral activity; 2] Develop an efficient, scaleable attachment method to retain maximum antiviral activity; 3] Determine coating stability and effectiveness under likely conditions of use. For commercialization the optimized coatings must inactivate more than 99.9% of a challenge inoculum of influenza virus within one hour under typical conditions of use. Our long-term objective is to use these coated fabrics to produce personal protective equipment capable of inactivating microorganisms, reducing the bioburden on these items and reducing the potential for disease transmission. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE Masks and respirators are intended to reduce the wearer's exposure to small airborne particles including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The goal of the research is to determine feasibility of attaching a microbe- inactivating coating to material used in masks, thereby reducing the microbe burden on the mask surface and making it less likely that a user would contaminate their hands with active organisms when handling the mask. Ultimately this treatment will be incorporated into other personal protective equipment for first responders, healthcare personnel, and other essential workers to help reduce the incidence of infectious disease.