A British company has teamed up with German microbiologists to develop hygiene wipes that can protect touchscreens from coronavirus for seven days.
The surface cleansers – launched by UK firm LiquidNano under the brand name ‘Steri-Wipes’ – leave behind an invisible nano-coating that releases a disinfectant slowly over a period of days.
The antimicrobial wipes are designed to close a ‘hygiene gap’ that experts warn can enable pathogens to survive on mobile phones and other hard surfaces such as game controllers for up to 28 days.
Andy Middleton, co-founder of LiquidNano, said: “Mobile phones and touchscreens are among the dirtiest things that we come into contact with. This creates a hygiene gap because even if you clean them, they can easily become re-contaminated the moment you touch them again. However, our Steri-Wipes were developed using nano-technology in order to create an antimicrobial coating that stays effective for a whole week.”
A study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia in October 2020 warned that SARS-CoV-2 could survive for up to 28 days on devices such as mobile phones, bank ATMs, supermarket self-serve checkouts, and airport check-in kiosks.
Steri-Wipes contain a gel to create an invisible film of liquid glass that is 500 times thinner than a human hair, which then kills bacteria and viruses, including envelope viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 (which causes Covid-19).
The innovative product has previously been donated to a number of NHS staff and also to the Life Lines charity in order to help them keep their mobile phones clean. LiquidNano is also in talks with companies in the retail and hospitality sectors, as well as with parenting groups who wish to use the wipes for children’s toys, games controllers, light switches and door handles.
The active ingredient in the wipes is based on a trusted disinfectant called Bacoban, which was developed by a German company. Its properties have been verified by The German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology (DGHM) at the Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene in Hanover.
Earlier studies prior to the pandemic, including one by the University of Arizona in 2012, found that mobile phones can contain up to ten times more bacteria on average than a toilet seat.