These new technology face masks could actually kill viruses

RAJKOT: Scientists at the Bhavnagar-based Central Research Institute for Marine and Saline Chemicals (CSMCRI) have developed a special mask that uses membrane technology that can provide better protection against pathogens, including viruses and bacteria. The mask can kill viruses and bacteria that cling to the outer surface that is made of a special material, the scientists told TOI.

If this groundbreaking research is medically validated, it could be a boon not just for ordinary people but for the entire medical fraternity, especially healthcare workers who are at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. V K Shahi, chief of CSMCRI's division of membrane science and separation technology, told TOI: “This is a novel idea. The outer shell is made of material that is anti-virus, antibacterial, and antifungal. This means that any pathogens attached to the external surface will be removed. These are superior to the N95 masks considered the best.

New masks cost less than 50 rupees

The outer porous film is made of modified polysulfone material that is 150 microns thick. The material can kill any virus that is 60 nanometers (NM) and larger. The coronavirus has a diameter of 80-120 NM, he said.

At the same time, these masks are profitable, the cost of production is around Rs 25-45 compared to Rs 100-300 of the best available on the market. The institute has developed five different variants of masks that have different types of membranes and fabrics coated with multiple layers on them. CSMCRI plans to distribute these skins for free under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

The mask was developed in about a week and medical validation is expected in a couple of days.