A team of scientists in Ireland have discovered a solution that could help control the spread of deadly superbugs.
Medical experts warn that such anti-biotic resistant bacteria, including MRSA and E coli, could kill up to ten million people each year.
But scientists, led by Professor Suresh C Pillai of Institute of Technology Sligo, have made a breakthrough which will protect everyday items like smartphones from such poisons.
After several attempts, they created a that is activated by indoor, rather than UV light.
This solution is sprayed onto a particular product, including those with glass, ceramic or metallic surfaces, rendering it 99.9 per cent resistant to superbugs.
The spray reacts to the light and is ‘baked in’ to the particular product, forming a surface that is transparent, permanent and scratch-resistant.
Its creators say it can be used on computer, tablet and smartphone screens, ATMs, door handles, toilet seats, fridges and televisions.
It can also be used on public transport, in swimming pools and in areas where food needs to be protected.
Professor Pillai said: “It’s absolutely wonderful to finally be at this stage. This breakthrough will change the whole fight against superbugs – it can effectively control the spread of bacteria.
“It grows on a phone and can live there for five months. As it is contaminated with proteins from saliva and from the hand, it’s fertile land for bacteria and has been shown to carry up to 30 times more than a toilet seat.”
The discovery comes after almost 12 years of research by Pillai’s team, initially at the Centre for Research in Engineering Surface Technology at Dublin Institute of Technology and then at IT Sligo’s Nanotechnology Research Group.
Dublin City University, the University of Surrey and Kastus Technologies were also involved in the research.