With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks have become a necessity in our daily life. These masks play a significant role in preventing the transmission of viral infections, like SARS-COV-2.
Now the researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have created a facemask that can neutralize SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the university’s official gazette said.
The scientists at the UNAM have created a mask capable of killing coronavirus using silver and copper nanolayers. The triple-layered antimicrobial facemask is named SakCu. In Mayan, “Sak” refers to silver while Cu is the chemical symbol for copper.
To test the mask, researchers took drops with the virus from patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 at the Hospital Juarez in Mexico. The drops were then placed on the silver-copper film which was deposited in polypropylene.
UNAM said that if the viral concentration was high, the virus disappeared by more than 80 percent in about eight hours and if the viral load was low, in two hours none of the virus RNA will be detected.
“Upon contact with the silver-copper nanolayer, the SARS-COV-2 membrane breaks, and its RNA is damaged. Thus, even if SakCu is disposed of improperly, it will not be a problem as it does not remain contaminated, like many of the masks that are thrown away,” the gazette noted.
The facemask is reusable and can be washed up to 10 times without losing its biocide properties. UNAM is not mass-producing the facemask and said that it currently has the capacity to produce 200 of them per day. The research was fronted by UNAM’s Materials Research Institute and is awaiting peer review.