Antivirus mask fights COVID-19 protein spikes

LEXINGTON, Kentucky – Researchers from the University of Kentucky have developed an antiviral face mask that deactivates the COVID spike protein on contact.

what you need to know

  • British researchers have developed an antiviral mask
  • This antiviral mask uses antiviral enzymes to deactivate protein spikes
  • Researchers are working on developing them into commercial products
  • The university is also working on an air filter that would deactivate protein spikes on contact in a small area

British professor Dibakar Bhattacharyya said they had developed a material to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s small enough so it gets in here through the virus and can’t pass particles through, so this can be used to filter the small space as well,” Bhattacharyya said.

According to Dibakar, a typical N95 mask acts as a filter for COVID-19, while this new material would deactivate the particles on contact.

“Right here in the middle we have what we call a pressure regulator, and that’s what actually uses a valve that turns the flow on and off like a breath,” said Rollie Mills, a graduate student at the university.

Mills says they can test the material with a large ambient air vacuum, like someone is breathing through the mask, and they’ve found it to be more breathable than most products on the market.

“Our current rough prototype that we have is a double layer fabric with an insertion hole in the middle where we can pick up our functionalized material with our membrane with our enzyme coating and put it in to make it disposable,” Mills said.

The new material contains a membrane with an antiviral enzyme that attaches itself to the protein tips and deactivates the virus.

“We coat the surface of this material with non-toxic enzymes. These enzymes are actually the same ones found in your home laundry detergent,” Mills said.

The university says this development was made through an existing collaboration with a membrane manufacturer, and when this new material was tested it destroyed the protein peaks within 30 seconds.

“Now we have to go all the way and how can we develop these materials into a commercial product and how can we work with other companies to bring this to market in the future,” Mills said.

Dibakar and Mills say they’ve found some promising results and hope one day their research can help fight COVID-19.

The university says that in addition to an antiviral mask, they are also working on an air filter that will detect and kill any protein spikes from COVID-19 in small areas.

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