Multilayered Antimicrobial Face Mask Developed
As of now, face masks, frequent hand washing, and physical distancing are the only ways to combat novel coronavirus. The kind of most suitable mask for protection against SARS-CoV-2 has been recommended by WHO.
But proper handling of masks is tricky, and wearing it for a long time can cause suffocation. So the team of researchers at the School of Biomedical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-BHU), under the leadership of Dr. Marshal, have developed a five-layered antimicrobial face mask.
This mask can destroy the microbes, including viruses stuck to its outer layer, and thus prevent any chances of secondary infection. The masks currently available at the market can only prevent microorganisms from getting into oral or nasal airways but does not have any effect on microbes stuck to the mask surface.
Since paramedical and medical staff could have a higher viral or bacterial load on their mask surface, it can be dangerous to their health. So Dr. Marshal’s team came up with a solution using different layers of nanometal conjugated with a protonated amine matrix in the masks.
The first layer of this multilayered antimicrobial face mask can destroy any type of RNA; the second layer is anti-microbial, third later filter air, and the fourth and fifth layers provide comfort to the user and remain close to the mouse and nose.
The researchers used a cocktail combination of copper oxides, copper, silver, and activated charged silver to degrade RNA, as copper and silver are known to degrade viruses, including all SARS viruses.
To test this, they isolated RNA from the lung cells, cancerous cells, and non-cancerous cells. They studied the degradation of these molecules in both coating-based and solution-based methods. They confirmed that RNA was being destroyed. Later, they optimized the technique. The mask can deflect water droplets containing viruses as it has a hydrophobic surface on the outer layer. The researchers have applied for a patent to this new multilayered antimicrobial mask.