A French company specialising in self-cleaning and anti-stain fabrics believes it has found a solution to make public transport safer amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The company, Trajet, recently developed a disinfectant and decontaminating velvet it says is capable of eliminating almost 100 per cent of viral load, thanks to a process called photocatalysis.
"We've managed to integrate a conductor, which we call a catalyst, into our fabrics. It activates when it comes in contact with ultraviolet rays," Trajet President Jérome Blanc told Euronews.
"The purpose of this reaction is to oxidise compounds and turn them into harmless molecules, like water or salt."
Thanks to natural or artificial light, this velvet is capable of destroying many bacteria, microbes and viruses in only 1 minute.
Tests conducted by independent laboratories in the United States and Spain have also proven its effectiveness against the new coronavirus.
It comes as many are concerned about the heightened risk of coronavirus infection in crowded public transport.
While these decontaminating fabrics are mainly intended for transport, they could have other applications too.
"This smart fabric could be used in movie theatres and concert halls – between sessions, there could be an hour of exposure to ultraviolet light to decontaminate the room," said Blanc.
The transport network in Lyon has already equipped some of its metro trains with this velvet. Other cities in France and around the world may soon follow suit.