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  • Writer's pictureBeltsville News

The Women Leading the Fight Against COVID-19 (Online Exclusive)

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

Female scientists fighting COVID-19 are inspiring the next generation of girls. (c) twinsterphoto / iStock via Getty Images Plus

(StatePoint) Less than 30 percent of the world’s researchers are women, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. However, one team fighting against COVID-19 is not only leading the charge to save lives, but also in empowering women in science, encouraging the next generation of girls and young women to pursue STEM education.

At biotechnology company Allied BioScience, chief science officer Maha El-Sayed, PhD leads a female-dominated team of researchers, and their work has the potential to be a game changer in the fight against COVID-19 and other future viruses. Their product, SurfaceWise2, continuously kills 99.9 percent of viruses, including, most importantly, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“When it comes to women in STEM, there’s a lot of untapped potential. It’s my hope that our team can inspire young women to pursue careers in science, and inspire other research teams to bring more talented women into the fold and elevate them to positions where they can drive real change,” says Dr. El-Sayed.

As Dr. El-Sayed explains, human coronaviruses can persist on inanimate surfaces such as plastic, glass, fibers and metals for up to nine days. This makes it critical to protect high-traffic facilities where the contamination of surfaces is continuous, such as schools, stadiums, restaurants, offices and retail spaces. More advanced than comparative products in reducing chemical and disinfectant exposure, SurfaceWise2 was proven in independent studies conducted by infectious disease experts to be effective against Human Coronavirus 229E, the EPA-approved surrogate, demonstrating the ability to successfully protect against COVID-19. It’s the first such product to be EPA-approved.

So how is it used? Compatible with virtually all surfaces, SufaceWise2 is applied via an electronic spray for efficient, complete and uniform treatment. Droplets are small -- 900 times smaller than an average droplet -- and applied at a force of 75 times greater than gravity, causing a “wraparound effect,” and a natural force of attraction between the sprayed droplets and target surfaces. Once applied, the long-lasting antiviral coating physically breaks down the cells of bacteria and viruses that land on treated surfaces, effectively and continuously killing them without giving the bacteria a chance to mutate and build up resistance.

Despite its potency, this solution is very safe for humans, even in enclosed spaces. Non-toxic, non-irritating, odorless and containing no chemicals that produce harmful vapors or gases, it’s already used by airlines, hospitality and travel companies, and in healthcare spaces. In the coming months, Dr. El-Sayed and her team expect to see further use in professional sporting facilities, restaurant dining rooms, offices, schools and other spaces.

As the nation fights to safely reopen, the work of dedicated, female scientists is making a vital difference in saving lives and in helping businesses, communities and families return to normalcy. To learn more about the work and achievements of Dr. El-Sayed and her team, visit

“Shedding light on the scientific achievements of women, particularly at this critical time in history, is essential to inspiring the next generation of girls and young women to pursue STEM education and careers in science,” says Dr. El-Sayed.

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