Imagine if a gas pump handle could help fight viruses

(Photo by Jenn Durfey via Flickr)

The research of a chemist at the University of Windsor could mean keypads, elevator buttons, and fuel pump handles will help fight future outbreaks.

Doctor John Trant is researching how a resin could immediately dissolve viruses, like COVID-19. It would go on surfaces frequently touched by members of the public, relieving business operators of the need to disinfect them continually.

“Even if we’re keeping space between us, but touching the same surfaces, the virus will spread,” said Trant. “An anti-viral coating for surfaces that absorb virus particles and destroys them could solve that problem.”

He has partnered with local companies like Wolfhead Distillery, condiment bottler Inner Seasonings, and cannabis company Peak Processing to find ingredients to make the resin.

He received a $50,000 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, which has set aside $15-million in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The contribution is the maximum available under the programs.

The deadline for funding is June 1, but the council is fast-tracking funding for worthy research projects, and Trant’s is the first at the university to receive money.