Inactivation of novel coronavirus and alpha variant by photo-renewable CuxO/TiO2 nanocomposites


In order to reduce infection risk of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), we developed photocatalysts with nanoscale rutile TiO2 (4–8 nm) and CuxO (1–2 nm or less). Their extraordinarily small size leads to high dispersity and good optical transparency, besides large active surface area. Those photocatalysts can be applied to white and translucent latex paints and a transparent varnish. Although Cu2O clusters involved in the paint coating undergo gradual aerobic oxidation in the dark, the oxidized clusters are re-reduced under >380 nm light. The paint coating inactivated novel coronavirus and its alpha (B.1.1.7) variant under irradiation with fluorescent light for 3 h. The coating also exhibited antivirus effects on influenza A virus, feline calicivirus and bacteriophage Qβ. The photocatalysts would be applied to practical coatings and lower the risk of coronavirus infection via solid surfaces.