The new masks are expected to be available by Christmas

  • Connexions
  • 2021-10-12
  • 1437

       A new reusable face mask coated with an antiviral substance that could fight the virus that causes COVID-19 and help stop the huge amounts of medical waste produced by the pandemic is expected to be on the market by Christmas. ViraCoat, a Company based in the UK and funded by Australia, has developed a new reusable N95 mask coated with an antiviral and antibacterial substance that works against the virus that causes COVID-19, including all the current mutated strains, the Telegraph reported. Another international team of scientists and engineers from the University of Cambridge and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai developed a nylon fabric embedded with zinc ions that lab tests showed inactivated 99 percent of the viruses that cause COVID-19 and common flu within an hour. The nylon material can be used not only in face masks but also in other personal protective equipment, such as medical suits, and can be reused, with tests showing it is still effective in inactivating the virus after 50 washes. Previous research by the US Centers for Disease Control found that double masks -- surgical masks worn inside cloth masks and "folded in half and knotted" -- blocked more than 90 per cent of virus particles. That's double the 42 to 44 percent of virus particles that a single surgical mask or cloth mask can block. Experts at a doherty Institute briefing this week warned Australians that even if vaccination rates reached 80 per cent, people would still have to wear masks indoors.  

The mask, which has been tested at Lancaster University in the UK, has shown resistance to the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants of the virus that cause COVID-19. Polypropylene, a material commonly used in ordinary disposable masks, does not absorb moisture and the virus can stay on the surface of the mask, posing a risk of transmission when handling the mask, the research team said. "Cotton is effective at absorbing water, but it does not inactivate the virus, which also poses a transmission risk," said Dr. Vikram Gopal, co-lead author of the study and chief technology officer of Ascend Performance Materials.

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