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Corning and PPG testing antimicrobial paints that kill COVID-19

| By Mary Bailey

Corning Inc. (Corning, N.Y.) announced a new breakthrough in glass-ceramic technology, Corning Guardiant. Under test methods approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paint and coatings containing Corning Guardiant were shown to kill more than 99.9% of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The tests provide the first demonstration of highly durable antimicrobial activity against SARS-CoV-2. The demonstrated antimicrobial efficacy remained active even after tests simulating six years of scrubbing. The tests were designed to account for the cleaning that a surface could be subjected to over time.  

“We strive to create innovations that make the world a better place,” said Wendell P. Weeks, chairman and chief executive officer, Corning Incorporated. “Our scientists have developed this unique paint additive using our highly engineered glass-ceramic technology. We are excited about the new lab results and look forward to working with our valued partner PPG.” 

Corning is working alongside PPG as it seeks EPA registration for its paint product formulated with Corning Guardiant.

Corning Guardiant contains copper, which has been shown to exhibit antimicrobial efficacy when applied to surfaces, consistently reducing germs on contact. Corning Guardiant keeps the most effective form of copper readily available for reducing harmful germs.

This technology and market opportunity are complementary to Corning’s extensive expertise in materials science. Corning is currently collaborating with leading paint and coatings manufacturers around the world, including PPG, to develop products containing Corning Guardiant that meet governmental and regulatory requirements. Subject to EPA approval, PPG’s antiviral paint product will be available under the name COPPER ARMORTM.  Prior to making claims in the United States against harmful germs such as SARS-CoV-2, finished products incorporating Corning Guardiant must first be registered with the U.S. EPA.

“PPG is proud to partner with Corning to continue innovating and creating solutions that address our customers’ greatest needs,” said Michael H. McGarry, PPG chairman and chief executive officer. “We know that now more than ever, our customers are seeking multiple layers of protection as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Following registration with the EPA, we look forward to launching a paint product in the coming months that contains Corning Guardiant, providing customers with an additional safeguard from the Coronavirus in areas that pose a higher health risk.”

The results of SARS-CoV-2 testing on coatings containing Corning Guardiant were recently obtained by Dr. Luisa Ikner in Professor Charles Gerba’s lab at the University of Arizona. Following U.S. EPA recommendations that test methods mimic in-use conditions for antimicrobial surface materials seeking claims against harmful germs, the lab used stringent test methods that simulated realistic contamination, which is dry and invisible.

In addition to the SARS-CoV-2 results, Corning has also published research on Corning Guardiant demonstrating kill of other bacteria and viruses with greater than 99.9% efficacy in under two hours, including gram positive bacteria (such as Staphylococcus aureus), gram negative bacteria (such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa), and non-enveloped viruses (such as murine norovirus, which belongs to the hardest-to-kill class of viruses in terms of its susceptibility to disinfectants).

Coatings containing additives such as silver and zinc pass traditional “wet” contamination test methods, but do not perform well under dry test conditions. Coatings containing organic antimicrobial agents such as “Quats,” scientific literature suggests, have limited effectiveness against non-enveloped viruses. Coatings containing Corning Guardiant have distinctly demonstrated effectiveness under both wet and dry test conditions.