Giessen Regional Council: Series "On a TelCo with..." Plant-based paint kills corona viruses

Giessen. "This can be thought of as mechanical disinfection, which then kills bacteria." The man who says so has a business in Heegstrauchweg. Dr. Klaus Schepers is managing director of Munditia Technologies GmbH - in short: MUNDITECH.

In the current situation, all signals are green that his start-up with a product will be in great demand worldwide. Like many sensational discoveries in history, its effect came to the world by chance: a plant-based varnish that permanently antimicrobially kills bacteria, fungi and - recently proven - corona viruses. It can be applied to small and large surfaces from wood to metal, plastic, textiles, nonwovens and paper. "We have received many inquiries," reports the chemist. In the series "To a TelCo with..." the District President meets people from Central Hessen, who are encouraging the crisis with their ideas.

"A few weeks ago, we had the effect of two of my products tested on corona viruses," says Klaus Schepers. The independent hygiene laboratory attested the one product a virus reduction of more than 99.99 percent and thus "a very convincing effectiveness" and the second product almost as much with more than 99.97 percent. What's more, the coating is environmentally friendly. And all this discovered in the middle of Hesse and further developed to make it marketable. "We are a science and education region here in central Hessen," says RP Ullrich. During his regular visits, the district president repeatedly meets exciting companies. "I feel very encouraged when I see that people like you are contributing innovative ideas in these difficult times".

Self-cleaning surfaces in hospitals or care facilities that do not require chemicals - for five years Klaus Schepers has been inspired by this idea. It was a long way to the market launch. Everything began with an apparent breakdown. "We first thought the data was a measurement error and then recreated it many times in the lab." The results clearly said: no measurement error. Plants have obviously acquired special protection against microorganisms in the course of evolution. It is a purely physical mode of action: The surface penetrates the outer membrane of the virus or bacterium. As a result, these die on the surface. What remains is a permanent disinfection of the surface.

Klaus Schepers has made this mechanism usable as a technology. His company will present surface sealing agents. Whether light switches, door handles, counters, walls or floors - everything can be kept permanently germ-free. The protection remains and is ultimately only removed mechanically by touch. But this is also only very slowly. It can take months before a new coat has to be applied against the wear. But there is also a clever solution to control this. "We have built a UV marker into our products," he explains. A simple black light lamp can be used to check whether the coating is still intact. After the discovery about five years ago, however, there was initially a silent phase during which the chemist patented his discovery.

The basic idea of the company initially focused on the large field of hospital hygiene and the fight against multi-resistant germs. The fact that the same effect, scientifically confirmed several times, also helps with the corona virus is now a great opportunity for the company, which can make headlines nationwide, even worldwide. After there was a report about the company on Hessischer Rundfunk, the interest is even greater. "Yesterday alone, 20 inquiries were received."

He expects to be able to meet the demand fully. "Production capacities can be expanded quickly and raw materials are available in large quantities. All signals from upstream suppliers are positive despite the corona crisis." Production at the Giessen site is currently up to 1,500 tons per year. "However, we can expand this at short notice and roll it out in very large quantities." There are even already inquiries from China about licensed production of the patented product. District President Ullrich: "Especially for Central Hessen, I am pleased that you can also do good with your company and contribute to preventing the further spread of the corona viruses.

Otherwise a classic scientist, Klaus Schepers says about his discovery with self-confidence: "There is nothing comparable. This is due to the patented mechanism of action. "The effect is long-lasting or almost permanent and due to the purely physical action no resistance can develop." At the moment, the focus is naturally on Corona because of its use. MUNDITECH can use its products in even more diverse ways: for food packaging, wallpaper and wall coverings.

What sounds like a one-man show here is a middle Hessian success story in which many people are involved. Initially started as a subtenant in the Technology and Innovation Center in the Europaviertel, MUNDITECH participated in the Accelerator Program of Merck in Darmstadt in 2018, selected as one of more than 400 start-up companies worldwide. Currently, MUNDITECH is supported by Johannes Hübner as a partner as well as by the regional management of Central Hesse and the Hessian Economic Development Agency in establishing contacts, positioning itself on the market and networking with potential partners and customers. "MUNDITECH is a very good example of how the chain of business development works very well for us," says RP Ullrich. Central Hessen is understandably attractive for start-ups because of its central location in the heart of Germany, a solid infrastructure and the region's research and economic strength.

Keyword: "To a Telco with..."
The period of the Corona pandemic has made other forms of communication popular: telephone and video conferencing. Where otherwise personal exchange in direct conversation is possible, new paths must be taken. In our series "Auf eine TelKo mit...", District President Dr. Christoph Ullrich speaks from the distance that is currently necessary about a "switch" with people from Central Hessen who encourage others in the crisis through ideas or actions.

Source: Regierungspräsidium Gießen | Oliver Keßler | 15.04.2020 |ässt-coronaviren-sterben

[Translate to English:] Dr. Klaus Schepers im Gespräch mit Regierungspräsident Dr. Christoph Ullrich (r.).