A team of Indian scientists have developed a self-disinfecting antiviral mask to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Science and Technology said on Friday, February 4. The antiviral mask is coated with copper-based nanoparticles and exhibits high performance against COVID-19 and several other viral and bacterial infections.
According to the ministry, the mask is biodegradable, highly breathable, and washable.
Mask-wearing has been one of the significant and effective health measures to contain the virus as the mode of transmission is via respiratory particles that are primarily airborne. But the ministry noted that controlling the virus transmission by wearing conventional masks has been challenging, especially in densely populated areas like airports, hospitals, stations, and shopping malls where the virus load is very high. It said that expensive masks in the Indian market "neither exhibit antiviral nor antibacterial properties."
Present Day Masks Prone To Transmission
The ministry added that the present-day face masks only retain the viruses by filtering and not killing them. Therefore, they are prone to transmission if the masks are not properly worn or disposed of, Hindustan Times reported.
Researchers at International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), developed the face mask in collaboration with a Bengaluru based company, Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB) and Resil Chemicals, under Nano-Mission project sponsored by the department of science and technology.
"Prototype masks having different designs like single and triple layers with nanoparticle coated fabric as the outer layer have been demonstrated. A single layer mask is beneficial as a protective antiviral outer mask over a regular mask," the ministry said.
"Simple multi-layer cloth masks present a pragmatic solution for use by the public in reducing COVID-19 transmission in the community, and wearing these self-disinfecting cloth masks is one of them," it added.