Giessen-based company Munditia Technologies GmbH has developed an antiviral and antibacterial surface coating with a long-term effect: It kills SARS-CoV-2 viruses. This plant-based coating can be applied to surfaces made of wood, metal, plastics, textiles, nonwoven materials and paper – and it could be a worldwide breakthrough for hygiene measures against the Corona pandemic.
Disinfection is everyone’s goal: Keeping light switches, door handles, counters, walls and floors permanently free of germs and viruses helps contain the Covid-19 pandemic. But disinfecting surfaces by manual cleaning is laborious and has only a short-term effect: In time, disinfectants evaporate and microorganisms return. Dr. Klaus Schepers, Managing Director of Munditia Technologies GmbH (Munditech), can solve this problem with a plant-based protective coating that can be painted onto nearly any surface.
Munditech has created a protective shield for surfaces has a permanent antimicrobial effect against bacteria, fungi and even corona viruses. „A few weeks ago, we had our products tested for their effect against corona viruses,“ says Schepers. An independent hygiene laboratory certified that the Munditech coating creates a virus reduction of more than 99.99 percent and has „a very convincing effectiveness.“
Revolution thanks to evolution
Schepers used an example from nature for his surface coating: In the course of evolution, plants acquired special protection against microorganisms. This protection is physical: The plants‘ surface penetrates the outer membrane of a virus or bacterium, so these potential invaders are destroyed. The result is a permanent disinfection of the plants‘ surface. Schepers then made this mechanism usable as a technology: His protective coating can be applied to surfaces of a broad range of materials, from wood to metal, plastics to textiles, non-woven fabrics and paper. The protective coating remains permanently intact; ultimately, it can only be removed slowly by excessive touch over time or friction – wear and tear. However, any degrading of the coating take months before a new layer has to be applied. And Schepers created a clever solution to monitor the coating’s condition. „We’ve built a UV marker into our products,“ he explains. By using a basic lamp with black light, the coating can be easily and instantly checked.
Potential to change the world
The demand for Scheper’s coating is already high. Fortunately, he’s ready for it. „Production capacities can be expanded quickly, and raw materials are available in large quantities. All signals from upstream suppliers are positive despite the Corona crisis,“ he says. Production at the Giessen site is currently up to 1,500 tons per year. „However, we can expand our output at short notice and in very large quantities.“ There have already been inquiries from as far as China for licensed production of this patented product.
Schepers had been working for five years on self-cleaning surfaces for hospitals and care facilities, so that no additional chemical disinfectants would be needed. Munditech was initially focused on the large field of hospital hygiene and the fight against multi-resistant germs. After Scheper’s initial discovery about five years ago, he patented his discovery. Today, his product is ready to help in today’s unprecedented pandemic. Since the Munditech coating also helps against the Corona virus, there is a chance to achieve decisive success in the fight against the virus nationwide, if not globally.
Long-lasting protection without the risk of resistance
At the moment, the focus for the coating is, naturally, to be used against Corona, but Munditech can bring its products into even more diverse applications – whether for food packaging, wallpaper or even wall surfaces. „The effect is long-lasting or almost permanent, and the purely physical action means that no resistance can develop to the coating,“ explains Schepers. „There is nothing comparable.“
A Central Hessen success story
Munditech was initially started as a tenant of the Technology and Innovation Centre in the Europaviertel in Giessen, Germany. In 2018 Munditech then participated in the Merck Accelerator Programme in Darmstadt, when Munditech was selected as one of more than 400 promising start-up companies worldwide. Currently, the company is supported by Johannes Huebner as a partner, as well as by the regional management of Central Hessen and the Hessen Economic Development Agency in establishing contacts, positioning itself on the market and networking with potential partners and customers. „Munditech is a very good example of how the chain of economic development works perfectly for us,“ says District President Dr. Christoph Ullrich. Central Hessen is understandably attractive for start-ups because of its central location in the heart of Germany, a solid infrastructure and the region’s research and economic strength.