Face Mask With Anti-viral Layer to Deactivate COVID-19 Virus

10/29/2020
Anti-viral layer attacks respiratory droplets to make mask wearer less infectious.

In the pandemic, people wear face masks to respect and protect others — not merely to protect themselves, says a team of Northwestern University researchers.

With this in mind, the researchers developed a new concept for a mask that aims to make the wearer less infectious. The central idea, which received support from the National Science Foundation through a RAPID grant, is to modify mask fabrics with anti-viral chemicals that can sanitize exhaled, escaped respiratory droplets.

By simulating inhalation, exhalation, coughs, and sneezes in the laboratory, the researchers found that non-woven fabrics used in most masks work well to demonstrate the concept. A lint-free wipe with just 19% fiber density, for example, sanitized up to 82% of escaped respiratory droplets by volume. Such fabrics do not make breathing more difficult, and the on-mask chemicals did not detach during simulated inhalation experiments.

The research will be published today (October 29, 2020) in the journal Matter.

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