Antiviral action of a functionalized plastic surface against human coronaviruses

Sailee Shroff, Marjo Haapakoski, Kosti Tapio, Mira Laajala, Miika Leppänen, Zlatka Plavec, Antti Haapala, Sarah J. Butcher, Janne A. Ihalainen, J. Jussi Toppari, Varpu Marjomäki

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Viruses may persist on solid surfaces for long periods, which may contribute to indirect transmission. Thus, it is imperative to develop functionalized surfaces that will lower the infectious viral load in everyday life. Here, we have tested a plastic surface functionalized with tall oil rosin against the seasonal human coronavirus OC43 as well as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. All tested non-functionalized plastic surfaces showed virus persistence up to 48 h. In contrast, the functionalized plastic showed good antiviral action already within 15 min of contact and excellent efficacy after 30 min over 90% humidity. Excellent antiviral effects were also observed at lower humidities of 20% and 40%. Despite the hydrophilic nature of the functionalized plastic, viruses did not adhere strongly to it. According to helium ion microscopy, viruses appeared flatter on the rosin-functionalized surface, but after flushing away from the rosin-functionalized surface, they showed no apparent structural changes when imaged by transmission electron microscopy of cryogenic or negatively stained specimens or by atomic force microscopy. Flushed viruses were able to bind to their host cell surface and enter endosomes, suggesting that the fusion with the endosomal membrane was halted. The eluted rosin from the functionalized surface demonstrated its ability to inactivate viruses, indicating that the antiviral efficacy relied on the active leaching of the antiviral substances, which acted on the viruses coming into contact. The rosin-functionalized plastic thus serves as a promising candidate as an antiviral surface for enveloped viruses.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Issue number2
Early online date16 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Antiviral surface
  • Human coronavirus
  • Plastic
  • Tall oil rosin
  • Virus persistence


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