Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing we were asked to wear, for sure, is masks. This is because the virus can spread through droplets that come out of a person’s body when they cough, sneeze or speak. The masks cover our mouth and nose, making sure that the droplets will not go out from us. It also blocks the virus from coming to our face when others speak to us or when they cough or sneeze.
But we know that the masks won’t help us always. Even the N95 masks that offer more protection than the regular ones don’t guarantee 100% efficiency. It may be close to being 100% efficient but, there are chances that the virus can get through it. To increase the efficiency of masks, researchers in Mexico underwent a study. They end in developing a new model of face mask that they claim to have the ability to neutralize COVID-19.
This ability is attained by the use of silver and copper nanolayers that are weaved into the mask. These nanolayers neutralize the virus if any virus was able to get through into the mask. They experimented with the drops from COVID-19 affected patients. The droplets were put into the silver and copper nanolayer, deposited in polypropylene. In cases in which the number of viruses deposited was small, it was neutralized in about two hours. Higher numbers took about 8 hours to be neutralized. The researchers explain that when the virus is in contact with the silver-copper nanolayer, the RNA of the virus will get damaged. So the masks will not become a problem even after it is disposed of, as the virus will be neutralized after some hours. Many masks that are thrown away may carry the virus in normal cases, which makes it a bigger problem.
The research is only completed and has to be reviewed by peers and other professionals in the field. So, we can’t be sure as to how this development will benefit the people. It is not yet mass-produced and cannot be bought from a shop now. Even then, the study is a promising one and might lead to more efficient masks.