Health secretary praises 'amazing' tech developed by Suffolk start-up

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Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock on a videolink tour of the CodiKoat lab at the EpiCentre facility in Haverhill - Credit: You Tube

A start-up biotech firm which has come up with an anti-viral surface coating aimed at halting the spread of coronavirus is celebrating an enthusiastic response from the health secretary.

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock - who is at the forefront of the national fight to halt the coronavirus pandemic - paid a virtual constituency visit to the new EpiCentre innovation centre in Haverhill, where he met with the team at CodiKoat.

After being given a tour of the facilities via videolink and an insight into the technology it has developed, Mr Hancock said:  “That’s amazing, I could see the benefit of this immediately including within the NHS."

He asked to be sent more details - pointing out the key role that touch plays in spreading the virus.

"It's extraordinary and incredibly important and people find it easy to forget in this pandemic the vector of transmission through touch because there's so much conversation about masks and the more recent debate about aerosol transmission.

"Transmission through touch remains a core vector so that's excellent," he said.

Matin Mohseni, a founding director of CodiKoat, said: “We have something that is quite timely and will help prevent the spread of the virus.

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"We are ready to work with public and private sector organisations to do pilot tests that could accelerate getting this technology into the market.”

The company says its patented coating technology kills viruses and bacteria on surfaces in seconds - whether they hard or soft, smooth, curved or flat - using an anti-viral adhesive film which lasts the lifetime of the surface it is applied on.

The CodiKoat team at the EpiCentre in Haverhill

The CodiKoat team speaking to Matt Hancock about their coating technology - Credit: You Tube

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Co-founder Reza Saberi has used his extensive experience of coating materials using the same technique in his PhD and postgraduate research at the University of Cambridge.

“Our technology relies on a coating technique which can provide a strong chemical bond to any type of surface (plastics, glasses, fabrics and metals) around us and this type of coating can stay functional until the original product is out of use,” he said.

The firm believes the technology can be easily integrated into the manufacturing process of door handles, doctors’ gowns, facemasks, bank notes, lift buttons, keyboards and virtually any product and surface commonly exposed to viruses and bacteria.

 “This is a technology that can save lives,” said Mr Mohseni.

“It can be used both quickly and cheaply within the healthcare, hospitality industry and public transport, dramatically helping to stop the transfer of viruses and bacteria both during the Covid-19 pandemic but also thereafter.”

CodiKoat was awarded £325k in grant aid from Innovate UK to develop the technology and is collaborating with BDK and Hardshell which are leading manufacturers of adhesive materials and facemasks in the UK.  

Gareth Scargill, commercial director at Oxford Innovation which manages the EpiCentre, said: “We very much appreciate the time the health secretary was able to spare in virtually visiting the centre, especially at a time when he is in the forefront of the government’s fight to halt the pandemic.

"It was great that he could meet the CodiKoat team to hear about their ground-breaking and relevant research."

Reza Saberi, Matin Mohseni and Payam Nahavandi of the CodiKoat team pictured at the EpiCentre

Reza Saberi, Matin Mohseni and Payam Nahavandi of the CodiKoat team at the EpiCentre - Credit: Rebecca Bacon

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