April 16, 2024

MONTREAL — A bioactive coating developed by a workforce from Quebec and Brazil would enable surgical masks to not solely block viruses but in addition destroy them.

The researchers examined three completely different coatings, together with one which destroyed virtually all viruses deposited on the floor of the masks in lower than a minute.

“We’re depositing a really skinny layer of some dozen atomic layers,” Professor Diego Mantovani, head of the Laboratory of Biomaterials and Bioengineering on the College of Laval, instructed La Presse Canadienne. We modify the best way the fabric interacts with the setting.”

Proper now, he mentioned, surgical masks act as a barrier that traps most, however not all, micro organism and viruses.

Moreover, sure viruses, corresponding to COVID-19, can survive on the floor of the masks for a number of hours. And coughing, speaking, sneezing or a runny nostril can scale back the filtering efficiency of masks, which is why it’s essential to interchange them after a couple of hours.

The analysis workforce from Quebec and Brazil subsequently examined three molecules identified for his or her bioactive properties within the laboratory. These molecules have been hooked up to surgical masks material samples contaminated with a coronavirus utilizing plasma expertise.

The researchers examined a coating comprised of polyethyleneimine (PEI), a polymer discovered primarily in detergents; a coating of PEI and lauric acid, a fatty acid present in coconut; and a coating of PEI and copper sulfate.

The quantity of virus deposited on the primary two coatings was 99% melted after two hours. However by the third coating, 99.99% of the viruses have been killed in lower than a minute, presumably as a result of the copper had penetrated the viral membrane and allowed the PEI to get inside.

The bioactive coating was utilized to the exterior floor of the masks to lure viruses on the time of inspiration. In idea, it may be positioned on the inside floor of the masks to forestall the wearer from contaminating these round them. Nevertheless, extra testing is required earlier than this could occur, mentioned Professor Mantovani.

“As a result of it’s pure supplies, it most likely wouldn’t have a really lengthy lifespan, we wouldn’t be capable to use the masks for a number of days,” he mentioned. However for a few hours of interplay, I feel it’s a product to think about.”

The researcher believes that such masks could possibly be significantly helpful in environments the place the chance of an infection is excessive, corresponding to in a hospital emergency room, throughout a live performance in a crowded amphitheater or on a airplane journey.

In large-scale manufacturing, the researchers estimate that the extra coatings would solely enhance the associated fee per masks by round ten cents.

The outcomes of this examine have been printed within the journal Utilized Floor Science.