The Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University based in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad has announced the creation of sophisticated reusable face masks which may prove effective in containing the coronavirus.
The university’s press service reported on Sunday that the multilayer SilverMask's structure includes layers with the deposition of silver ions that have highly effective antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Spokesman Alexander Goikhman explained that the SilverMask was based on a similar development by researchers from the Institute of Solid State Chemistry and Mechanochemistry, of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
He said that they had used a chemical method in order to cover the masks with MeltBlown filtering material and nanosilver which they suggested could be used to protect the respiratory tract.
“We, in turn, have used the technology of laser spraying of nanosilver on a mask, something that significantly increases its efficiency and reduces the cost”, Goikhman pointed out.
He added that as of today, they can produce about 500 such masks daily and that “there is the potential to ramp up the capacity to several thousand masks per day”.
Last month, the Russian Foundation for Basic Research referred to tests that showed the nanosilver-processed MeltBlown instantly kills a virus, and that with prolonged contact, its effectiveness increases even further.
“While an ordinary [face] mask should be changed every one and a half to two hours, the one developed by the Institute of Solid State Chemistry and Mechanochemistry can be effective for ten hours under conditions of continuous exposure to a pathogenic environment. In addition, it is capable of self-cleaning, namely, if you remove it at night, you will be able to use it next day”, the Foundation noted, adding that the new masks will be “slightly more expensive than ordinary ones”.
According to the Foundation, the effectiveness of the nanomaterial against the coronavirus has yet to be tested.
Countries all across the globe have been put on lockdown due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. The World Health Organisation, which declared the coronavirus a pandemic earlier this month, currently cites at least 719,700 confirmed cases with 33,673 deaths worldwide.