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Israeli invention turns tap water into antiviral solution

by Touchpoint Israel

It sounds like magic, but Bar-Ilan University researchers say the environmentally friendly disinfectant may be used daily to kill bacteria and viruses on all kinds of surfaces.

Bacteria and viruses can be killed effectively through a new method that instantly turns ordinary tap water into a powerful, environmentally friendly disinfectant on demand.

The technology was developed by chemists at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan and patented last year by the university’s BIRAD Research and Development Company.

Disinfectant solutions made with this technology previously were proven for their bacteria-killing abilities in hospital tests done in Israel.

Recently, the disinfectant also proved effective in neutralizing corona-type viruses in tests conducted in the lab of Prof. Ronit Sarid of BIU’s Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences.

“We examined the ability of these materials to impair herpes simplex virus type 1 infection and human coronavirus OC43,” said Sarid.

“Both viruses were completely eliminated when exposed to the disinfectants for different periods of time. The structural characteristics of OC43 are similar to those of recent SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that this virus will also be easily eliminated with this disinfectant.”

Researchers Eran Avraham and Izaak Cohen developed the technology for the water-to-disinfectant solution in the laboratory of Prof. Doron Aurbach, an international electrochemistry expert from BIU’s Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials Chemistry.

Prof. Doron Aurbach of Bar-Ilan University’s Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials Chemistry. Photo: courtesy

Their novel method involves mixing water with nanometer-shaped electrodes that have unique surface properties. The combination of these compounds creates an effective antibacterial against bacteria, viruses and spores.

Unlike many other disinfectants, such as chlorine bleach, this water-based solution is safe for skin and does not contaminate groundwater, the researchers say.

“The antiseptic capability is 100 times more effective than bleach and therefore low concentrations of between 50 and 200 milligrams of the active materials per liter are enough to disinfect — unlike bleach, which by contrast requires between 5,000 and 20,000 mg per liter,” the scientists explained.

“They are also much more environmentally friendly and do not cause burns or dry skin. They don’t cause corrosion, and most importantly, with the very low concentration of 50 mg they eliminate all kinds of viruses.”

Many possible applications

The technology could be used for a variety of disinfectant products, such as spray aerosols for disinfecting surfaces, appliances, beds, closets and bathrooms; containers for immersing hands, shoes or devices; disinfectant wipes; dry fog air-purifiers and others.

“The ability to produce electrodes in a variety of shapes and textures makes the technology suitable to almost any application – from a ‘cassette’ in an air conditioner, a container for washing fish and meat, to disinfection and removal of pesticides from vegetables and fruit, a device for manufacturing disposable antibacterial cloths and many other applications – even masks and gloves,” Avraham said.

Through his startup, AqooA Solutions: Eco Sanitizing Technologies, Israeli entrepreneur Barak Dror Wanderman is working toward final development and production of portable devices that will produce the disinfectant liquids on demand from potable water.

Bar-Ilan University researchers Izaak Cohen and Eran Avraham flank Barak Dror Wanderman, an entrepreneur seeking to commercialize the water-based disinfectant. Photo by Yair Sagi

“Imagine a situation in which you are at a busy mall and are interested in using the public bathroom,” says Avraham. “All you have to do is take out the compact spray bottle, access the nearest tap, and press the power button. Now you have a disinfectant that will allow you, with a simple spray, to sterilize the toilet and bathroom space and be protected.”

Packaged in special containers, the disinfectants can remain effective for two months and may be sold in recyclable bottles. For reusable bottled products, a fairly simple process can be applied to enable long-term use, the researchers added.

“There are many antibacterial disinfectants on the market, but this material is based on water so it is cheaper, three times more effective, seven times less toxic for humans, preserves these capabilities for much longer and covers a large variety of bacteria,” said BIRAD VP of Business Development Frances Shalit.

“We are on the brink of a revolution by making the most effective green disinfectant available to the entire population and medical institutions,” said Wanderman. “This technology will save many lives, save the economy a lot of money, and eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals that harm the environment.”

Originally posted at israel21c.org


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