Preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 on high-touch surfaces

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) collaborative research grant advances the production of antiviral coatings for preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 on high-touch surfaces

September 21, 2020



Mississauga, Ontario. September 19, 2020 – Hatch is pleased to congratulate and announce its support for McGill University professor Stephen Yue, Dr. Éric Irrisou of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), and Dr. Chen Liang, a researcher at the McGill AIDS Centre and Lady Davis Institute, who recently received an NSERC Alliance COVID-19 grant to produce a cost-effective, production-ready antiviral coating that could significantly reduce the rate of SARS-CoV-2 transmission on high-touch metallic surfaces. Hatch is contributing to this research by using discrete event modeling of the movements of employees and patrons within infrastructure and public spaces to predict the frequency of contact and probability of contracting human coronavirus infection from contaminated surfaces.

The antiviral coating consists of copper (Cu) and its alloys, which have proven to be safe and effective at destroying bacteria and inactivating RNA viruses. Using a proprietary cold gas dynamic spray process, researchers can deposit a thin coating of copper alloy on a variety of metallic surfaces. The anti-SARS-CoV-2 properties of these engineered materials will then be tested in a level 3 biological containment facility that is led and funded by the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4).

“Our initial trial data, obtained in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada, demonstrates the efficiency of the coating in deactivating 99.9% of human coronavirus in 30 minutes,” said Stephen Yue, a James McGill Professor in the Faculty of Engineering at McGill. “There is an entire value chain in Canada around cold spray technology which can be rapidly activated and deployed to help reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in public spaces, such as hospitals and public transit, and which will benefit tremendously from this research.”

The McGill and NRC researchers will develop and test the high-performance antiviral coatings at the McGill-NRC cold spray facility located in Boucherville, Quebec. This work will be done in collaboration with industry partners Polycontrols, Hatch, and 5N Plus, who will provide key expertise in the preparation of the powder feedstock materials, identification of relevant high-touch surface components, and manufacturing process that will be carried out at the NRC’s and Polycontrols’ joint facility, PolyCSAM. PolyCSAM was specifically created to drive technology and application development and prototyping of cold spray additive manufacturing (CSAM), robotics, SMART tooling, data analytics, and machine learning (artificial intelligence).


About NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grants

NSERC Alliance COVID-19 grants support collaborations between university academic researchers, the public and not-for-profit sectors, and industry to address pandemic-related research and technical challenges. See here  to learn how the Government of Canada are working with these partners as part of the collective effort to help find solutions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

About McGill University
Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill University is Canada’s top ranked medical doctoral university. McGill is consistently ranked as one of the top universities, both nationally and internationally. It is a world-renowned institution of higher learning with research activities spanning two campuses, 11 faculties, 13 professional schools, 300 programs of study and over 40,000 students, including more than 10,200 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, its 12,800 international students making up 31% of the student body. Over half of McGill students claim a first language other than English, including approximately 19% of our students who say French is their mother tongue. Led and supported by MI4, McGill Departments, Institutes and Hospitals, McGill researchers have initiated and led a wide range of projects with the goal of discovering solutions for the COVID-19 pandemic, from developing innovative diagnostics, discovering and testing effective treatments, implementing and investigating prevention strategies, to providing high-quality COVID patient care.

About National Research Council of Canada
Founded in 1916, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is Canada's largest federal research and development organization. The NRC partners with Canadian industry to take research impacts from the lab to the marketplace. This market-driven focus is designed to shorten the time between early-stage research and development and commercialization, enhance people's lives and address some of the world's most pressing challenges.

About Polycontrols
Polycontrols (Brossard, QC) is an SME with over 35 years of experience in instrumentation, calibration, automation, robotics, integrated manufacturing solutions & surface engineering. Recently, they have built PolyCSAM (, a new, industrial-scale, hybrid cold spray additive manufacturing facility to address production and industrialization challenges. That facility serves as a demonstrator and an innovation/development platform. It is also used for industrial production series, for instance repairs, or manufacturing of new parts in several leading-edge industries such as aerospace, automotive, surface transportation, energy and biomedical fields.

About 5N Plus Inc.
5N Plus is a leading global producer of engineered materials and specialty chemicals with integrated recycling and refining assets to manage the sustainability of its business model. 5N Plus is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and operates R&D, manufacturing and commercial centers in several locations in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. 5N Plus deploys a range of proprietary and proven technologies to manufacture products which are used as enabling precursors by its customers in several advanced electronics, optoelectronics, pharmaceutical, health, renewable energy and industrial applications. Many of the materials produced by 5N Plus are critical for the functionality and performance of the products and systems produced by its customers, many of whom are leaders within their industry.

About Hatch

Hatch is a global engineering and project management company. Our network of over 9000 professionals work from over 60 offices around the world on some of the world’s toughest technical, economic, and environmental challenges. Our experience spans over 65 years and 150 countries in the mining and metals, energy, infrastructure, digital, and investments market sectors. A significant part of Hatch’s work is the planning, development, design and upgrading of public infrastructure, including subways, transit facilities, airport terminals, public spaces, civil works and commercial developments, whose end users would benefit from this initiative. A significant portion of this work is within Canada with such infrastructure projects located in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver, as well as other communities throughout Canada.

Media Contact:

Lindsay Janca

Tel: +1 905 403 4199