Nov
15
2006

Paint the flu away?

New cure: Could a new paint made with a spikey-shaped polymer be a new way to fight the flu? Scientists think they've found a paint that can kill flu bugs on contact.
New cure: Could a new paint made with a spikey-shaped polymer be a new way to fight the flu? Scientists think they've found a paint that can kill flu bugs on contact.
Can you add a paintbrush as a method of fighting the flu along with chicken soup and antibiotics?

Scientists are debating that topic this week after researchers contend they’ve found a polymer-based paint that can kill flu-bearing viruses on touch. The new findings were reported on Scientific American’s website.

The researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say that the paint can be applied to surfaces in public places such as hospitals, schools or airplanes, where people congregate and can possibly pass along flu germs.

Through the tests, researchers have found that the spiky-shaped polymers when painted on surfaces can kill bacteria, including esherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus -- bugs that are waiting to jump on to people’s unsuspecting hands, get into bodies and become full-born flu.

These pokey-polymers work by punching holes into the cell wall of a flu bug microbe, letting its contents spill out. The polymer molecules are positively charged, keeping them standing rigid and in position to burst more microbes. That ongoing battle neutralizes flu because those microbes have a wall around them that is susceptible to being speared.

The paint coatings were found non-toxic to monkey cells through tests, but they will need further study before getting government approval to be made commercially available.

Skeptics, however, think that the new information is just another piece in the puzzle of people looking to profit from the latest flu hysteria. They point to new efforts by people pointing to “improved” handwashes and new devices that remind you to wash your hands regularly.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

This all sounds great but I am confused as to how this polymer paint would not hurt human cells that come into contact with it?

posted on Thu, 04/26/2007 - 4:29pm
Kiyoko's picture
Kiyoko says:

Wooow! that is pretty cool! I read that and seriously, like, one of the coolest science articles I have read recently!

posted on Thu, 11/22/2007 - 10:12pm
Kiyoko's picture
Kiyoko says:

Thats cool! I sorta didn't exactly get how the paint wouldn't kill human cells....That was really cool to read though!

posted on Thu, 11/22/2007 - 10:14pm

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