Catalytic Approach to Decontaminate Surfaces from COVID19 and its Surrogate Viral Particles

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The novel SARS-CoV-2, also known as human coronavirus 2019 (hCoV-19), is the causative agent of the pneumonia-like coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). As of May 2021, SARS-CoV-2 had infected more than 160 million people globally, including over 32.5 million people in the United States. Dissemination of the virus can occur via multiple modes, including contact with respiratory droplets generated by an infected person and contact with surfaces contaminated with the virus. The stability of SARS-CoV-2 on such surfaces may be a factor in its wide-spread dissemination within the human population despite adoption of aggressive mitigation measures, such as physical distancing protocols, that have been implemented by numerous countries. Indeed, SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to be stable on smooth surfaces for up to 72 hours. Moreover, respiratory droplets (e.g., on the order of 10µm) carrying the virus can easily circulate in the air and be deposited on surfaces remote from the infected person.

Surfaces contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 can be periodically cleaned using various chemical agents (e.g., hydrogen peroxide, bleach, or other disinfectants recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)).  However, it may be unsafe for humans to be exposed to such chemicals, thereby requiring protective gear during the cleaning process.


Researchers at University of Nevada, Reno have invented a novel coating that can be used to deactivate human coronavirus/NL-63 which is a globally accepted surrogate of the COVID-19 family of viruses. Preliminary results indicate that the coating is critical to quickly and effectively inactivate viruses including human coronavirus on the surface upon exposure to light. The approach has the potential to significantly and rapidly reduce viral particles from the surfaces and block any potential infection through contaminated surfaces. The coating can be prepared over a wide range of common surfaces such as metals, plastics, wood and paper/cardboard, and also for applications for airborne particles. The coating or metal could be modified to increase efficiency.


  1. The coating can be applied as a semi-transparent layer on glass, allowing for visibility

  2. Can be used without harsh chemicals such as bleach or other cleaning agents

  3. Viral particles can be controlled within 15 minutes of exposure to UV light source 



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Cara Baird
Licensing Associate
University of Nevada, Reno
Vaidyanathan (Ravi) Subramanian
Subhash Verma
Chemicals & Materials