Gold Coast company OzKleen is poised to tap into a multimillion-dollar global market with a new Queensland-developed surface spray formulated to last up to 24 hours to tackle viruses such as COVID-19.
The product, developed by University of Queensland researchers, is touted to offer applications for extensive commercial and domestic use by also proving to be effective against bacteria such as E. coli and staphylococcus aureus.
The innovation is driven by a protein supplied by local company GELITA Australia to create the long-lasting surface spray to keep viruses and deadly bacteria at bay much longer than conventional products. The protein helps the spray to stick to surfaces and remain effective for longer periods.
The UQ research team, led by Dr Heather Shewan, says the spray has been extensively tested and shows that it continues to be effective against virus and bacterial strains even after surfaces are washed down after application.
“We used hydrolysed gelatine which essentially helps create a thin film that allows the spray to stick on surfaces and can stay there for at least a day and potentially longer,” Shewan says.
“This durability means it is over a longer period than a standard cleaner and has the potential to be used in high-use areas such as in public transport, kitchens, hotels, retail outlets, hospitals and public areas.”
The Therapeutic Goods Administration is assessing the product for commercial cleaning use.
OzKleen, a household cleaning products company established in 1995 selling its flagship Shower Power product, rode a wave of growth during the pandemic as demand for commercial and domestic disinfectants surged. GELITA is a beef gelatine manufacturer based in the township of Beaudesert south-west of Brisbane.
OzKleen CEO Mark Quinn says the spray will be manufactured at its Gold Coast facility for domestic and export markets.
“This is a very exciting initiative and the results show this product can be used in public places across the globe and will help to make the world a safer place,” Quinn says.
“Not only will this product create jobs and grow the state’s economy, it will put Queensland on the world map as an innovator and manufacturer of world-class products.”
Shewan’s research team extensively tested the spray which is said to be cost-effective to manufacture and not harmful to the environment.
“In one test we sprayed glass surfaces with the cleaner and left it dry on the surface, and after 24 hours we added the COVID virus and further testing showed it did not survive,” says virologist Dr Kirsty Short, a key member of the research team.
“We also conducted other tests that showed even after rinsing surfaces with water, the spray significantly reduced the amount of virus that was able to survive on stainless steel.”
The UQ research was supported by a $90,000 Advance Queensland Industry Fellowship grant from the state government. The grant scheme has funded 197 fellowships totalling $45 million since 2016.
“Each fellowship creates an average of three jobs per research project and forecasts an average of 12 additional jobs to be created post completion of the project,” says Queensland Innovation Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.
“The partnership between the UQ research team, OzKleen and GELITA Australia is now gaining international attention. Once approved, it will be manufactured at the Gold Coast and has the potential to create up to 30 good, secure jobs for Queenslanders.”
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