American Airlines will be the first airline to deploy a disinfecting surface coating that kills coronavirus for up to seven days, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday.

The agency lifted a restriction against Texas, allowing the state to let American Airlines airport facilities and planes at specific locations and two Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine Clinic locations to use SurfaceWise2, which creates an invisible layer that kills pathogens within two hours, according to the manufacturer Allied BioScience. Applied to high-touch surfaces such as seats, tray tables and overhead bin doors, the nontoxic surface protection can last up to a week. The airline said the product will be used in conjunction with routine cleaning.

The EPA’s emergency exemption of Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act applies to the state only for use “under certain conditions,” according to an agency news release. But if Allied BioScience is able to get non-emergency approval from the EPA in the coming months, the product would become widely available.

The announcement comes as travelers wary of possible transmission have opted not to fly, as airlines increasingly face backlash amid images documenting full flights.

Coronavirus is more commonly transmitted via close contact when an infected person coughs, breaths or speaks, emitting tiny particles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, than by contaminated surfaces. Catching the virus while touching a surface would be “quite rare” but not “impossible,” according to the Atlantic, which is why hand-washing is still recommended.

“You had clear airborne transmission with many, many opportunities for mass fomite transmission in the same place. But we just didn’t see it,” Donald Schaffner, a food-microbiology professor who studies disease contamination at Rutgers University, told the magazine. “In the entire peer-reviewed covid-19 literature, I’ve found maybe one truly plausible report, in Singapore, of fomite transmission. And even there, it is not a slam-dunk case. ”

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