Researchers seen working in a lab. (Source: University of Waterloo)

Researchers out of the University of Waterloo are working on a surface coating that would kill the virus that causes COVID-19 on contact.

A news release from the university says the coating could be used on personal protective equipment and high-touch surfaces to help reduce community transmission.

The research is being done by the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) out of the university, and in collaboration with SiO2 Innovation Labs.

"In order to protect frontline workers and the general public, it’s important that the virus be neutralized immediately when it comes into contact with any surface," lead researcher and professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering Sushanta Mitra is quoted in a press release.

"Our work will culminate in the production of an anti-viral coating that will do just that."

There have been numerous studies since the pandemic began that have measured how long the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can live on surfaces.

Some studies have found the survival rate to be a matter of hours, while others have found that the virus, under some circumstances, can survive for days on surfaces.

READ MORE: Expert says studies on risk of virus transmission through surfaces don't reflect real world

The researchers are using water droplets to mirror respiratory droplets, which are the primary cause of transmission of COVID-19 between humans.

"Reduced infection rates will save lives and create safer environments in public and private spaces including homes, the workplace, schools, stores, public transit and hospitality venues," Chief Technology Officer at SiO2 Innovation Labs Bruce Johnston is quoted in the release.

As they continue testing, they'll work to determine how well the coating works to deactivate virus.

The areas of research to produce the coating include:

  • The ability to apply the coating on different surfaces;
  • The relationship between the virus and the coating on different materials;
  • A computational model; and
  • The creation of the best final product based on the other studies.

As of Tuesday, Canada had reported more than 108,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Nearly 8,800 people have died, while over 72,000 people have recovered from the virus.

There are still more than 27,000 active cases in the country, including 1,442 in Ontario. The bulk of Canada's active cases are in Quebec, which has more than 25,000 active cases.