Technion Assistant Professor Shady Farah is developing disinfectants that destroy the coronavirus and remain effective over time on surfaces including floors, fabrics, and metals. With the coronavirus surviving for up to five days, a long-lasting disinfectant could be a game changer in safely opening schools, transportation systems, restaurants, and other public places.

Existing bleach or chlorine-based disinfectants evaporate quickly or break down when exposed to sunlight. But Prof. Farah’s “smart” disinfectants release virus-busting agents in a controlled and continuous manner that block the cycle of recontamination and protect surfaces for months.

At the same time, the new disinfectants impair the virus’ potency by destroying the outer membrane that protects its genetic material.

Prof. Farah, who holds the Neubauer Chair in the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering, received a European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Health COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant to accelerate the process. “We are currently producing potential substances and testing them, and plan to select the optimal substance and begin mass production in the next few months,” he said. Prof. Farah has also received a Maof Fellowship for Outstanding Young Researchers and his lab has received generous funding from the Philadelphia-based Neubauer Family Foundation.