Anti-coronavirus face masks have been in development by numerous companies around the world, each using different techniques. Although current evidence for the effectiveness of masks against viruses carries many uncertainties, people are not leaving home without one. Studies have showed however that wearing masks does reduce the risk of infection. It prevents one from touching their face, which is the number one precaution to take, and makes transmission a less likely.
Currently, the standard mask people resort to is the widely available N95 respirator, which has a 95% protection rate. Through many electrocharged layers of tightly knit fibers, the mask filters out particles as small as 0.3 microns. COVID-19 can range anywhere from 0.5 to 0.2. If mask pores get any smaller, however, that could mean difficulty breathing for many, and that’s why multiple layers are used, and the static electricity traps the particles before they are inhaled.
The thing is, these masks are made for one-time use, as constant breathing or washing for reuse dampens the charges over time. It is still however one of the most viable anti-coronavirus face masks on the market.
N95s offer more protection than typical surgical masks, but there is clearly plenty of room for improvement. Any mask currently in use will do its job best when used alongside other preventative measures such as constant hand washing and social distancing.
With that in mind, new technologies are being developed by numerous institutions and researchers conducting experiments for the best way to trap and kill the virus before it enters the lungs.
Here are 3 anti-coronavirus face masks you should know about.
- Self-Disinfecting Textiles
A Switzerland based hygiene company, Livinguard, has claimed that the same techniques and technologies they use to disinfect their textiles can be used to make reusable, self-disinfecting anti-coronavirus face masks. Researchers have confirmed the effectiveness of this technology in destroying coronavirus particles upon contact, which is washable, and can be used over 200 times.
“The underlying principle is to empower the surface of the textile with a strong positive charge”, says Livinguard founder and CEO, Sanjeev Swamy. “When microbes come in contact with fabric, the microbial cell, which is negatively charged, is destroyed, leading to permanent destruction of the microorganism”.
- Electric Mask
Researcher Yair Ein-Eli from the Technion Institute for Technology has invented a self-cleaning mask that can be plugged with a USB or phone charger to power the heating element within. Heating it up 15 -30 times kills the virus particles trapped inside, making the mask safe to reuse, while maintaining its structural integrity. The mask is supposed to be priced at around 90 cents, and can be incorporated into the N95 masks.
Ein-Eli says the mask has been developed primarily for healthcare professionals. The self-cleaning mask should address the problem of shortages in both hospitals and in public, in addition to helping the environment as less masks will be disposed of.
- Copper layered masks:
Copper has long been known to have antimicrobial properties. Many masks before the pandemic have used copper infused filters. Positively charged copper ions attract and trap bacteria and are able to destroy viruses like COVID-19 within 4 hours as they penetrate the microbes and destroy their ability to replicate. When copper infused filters are used in conjunction with nanofabrics such as those found in the N95 types, it can greatly enhance the resistance to odor, moisture, and microbes.