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Health News

EPA approves a virus-killing coating for American Airlines, studies use by schools

FILE PHOTO: A member of a ground crew walks past American Airlines planes parked at the gate during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, U.S., April 5, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday it has granted emergency approval for American Airlines AAL.O to use a disinfectant against the coronavirus on certain surfaces that lasts for up to seven days, and is studying whether it could be effective in places like schools.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said at a news briefing that SurfaceWise2, made by Allied BioScience Inc, is the first long-lasting product approved by the agency to help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.

American Airlines will begin spraying its airplane cabins with the disinfectant in its home base of Texas after the state filed the request for emergency approval. The carrier hopes to eventually use it across its entire fleet, including its American Eagle regional partners.

The spray does not eliminate the need for cleaning, officials said.

Southwest Airlines LUV.N, also based in Texas, has been using a two-step process in its cabins that involves an EPA-approved disinfectant spray followed by a separate antimicrobial spray that coats surfaces for at least 30 days.

Reuters first reported on Sunday emergency approval of SurfaceWise2 for use by American and by Texas-based Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine’s two clinics for up to a year.

Airlines have rolled out deeper cleaning and disinfecting of airplanes and airport facilities in an effort to convince people that it is safe to resume flying during the pandemic.

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot

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