The British Footwear Association (BFA) is promoting a solution to reduce the contamination of Covid-19 following a collaboration with the De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), in England.

The team, led by DMU microbiologist Katie Laird, head of the Infectious Disease Research Group, and virologist Maitreyi Shivkumar, looked at how the virus survived on different types of shoe leather and cross-contamination on surfaces such as stainless steel, used in sewing machines, and cardboard to assess transfer from shoes in a shoe box.

The study used a human coronavirus OC43, which the team has previously shown to have a similar survival pattern to that of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

They found OC43 was able to survive on some leathers for up to 48 hours and could be transmitted to shoe boxes and stainless-steel surfaces during the manufacturing process, BFA explained.

But, when leather was treated with the anti-viral treatment Micro-Fresh, the survival time of the coronavirus was cut from 24-48 hours to two hours. There was also no transmission from the anti-viral coated leathers to other surfaces two hours after contamination of the leathers. Companies can coat their own products with Micro-Fresh during the manufacturing process, it added.

“These findings mean that shoe manufacturers now have the information to alter their health and safety procedures knowing when transmission times are highest and can advise stockists on protecting the shoes in stores,” BFA said in a statement.

Results from the study will be shared throughout the industry in an online webinar which will include partners such as the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), World Footwear and organizations in Europe and Asia, it added.

Photo: © CDC on Unsplash