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World-first COVID cleaner to create jobs for Queensland

19 January 2023

The Queensland Government is leading the way for more secure jobs with a ground-breaking surface spray set to be developed and manufactured in Queensland.

The world-first surface cleaner, with potential to last longer on surfaces and kill viruses such as COVID-19, was developed by Advance Queensland Industry Fellowship recipient Dr Heather Shewan from The University of Queensland’s (UQ) School of Chemical Engineering.

Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships are aimed at research projects with real-world application potential.

The cleaner was developed through a partnership between the UQ research team, Australian cleaning product manufacturer, OzKleen and Beaudesert-based company, Gelita Australia.

It is gaining international attention and is currently before the Therapeutic Goods Administration for approval as a commercial cleaner.

Once approved, it will be manufactured at the Gold Coast and has the potential to create up to 30 good, secure jobs.

Dr Shewan and her team were awarded an Advance Queensland Industry Fellowship to develop a spray for use on various surfaces to kill COVID-19 and bacteria such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

The product contains a protein allowing it to stick to surfaces and remain effective for 24 hours.

Dr Shewan enlisted the help of virologist Dr Kirsty Short and microbiologist Dr Deirdre Mikkelsen to provide the multi-disciplinary expertise required.

“We used hydrolysed gelatine, provided by local company Gelita, which helps create a thin film that allows the spray to stick on surfaces and can stay there for at least a day and potentially longer,” Dr Shewan said.

“This durability means it is more effective than a standard cleaner and has the potential to be used in high-use areas such as in public transport, kitchens, hotels, retail outlets, hospitals and public areas.”

OzKleen CEO Mr Mark Quinn said the partnership to develop the spray was creating jobs for Queenslanders and putting the state at the forefront of innovation.

“This world-first surface cleaner will be manufactured in our state-of-the-art factory at Ormeau on the Gold Coast, creating potentially up to 30 jobs for Queenslanders,” Mr Quinn said.

“OzKleen is proudly 100% Australian-owned. All our products are market leaders and we’re excited to be leading the way once again with the Queensland Government, UQ and Gelita to produce this product in Queensland and potentially export it across the world, showcasing our innovative solutions.”

Since 2016, the Queensland Government has invested $45 million in six rounds of Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships with funding for 197 fellowships.

The fellowships have a track record of translating research to practical uses for industry, creating good, secure jobs and attracting investment to Queensland.

Each fellowship creates an average of three jobs per research project and forecasts an average of 12 additional jobs to be created post completion of the project.

As part of the Innovation for a Future Economy 2022-2032 Roadmap, the Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships provides funding to support researchers partnering with industry to complete original research that will have a positive impact on Queensland.