Eliminates viral proteins within 30 seconds of contact.
Scientists at the University of Kentucky have developed a membrane for sanitary masks that can capture and deactivate by contact the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes covid-19. The membrane is impregnated with enzymes that destroy viral proteins, allowing the virus to enter the cells it infects. These membranes are an advance toward the new generation of respiratory masks that can significantly reduce the transmission of the coronavirus, reported the science team last week.
“This new material can filter the virus like the N95 mask does, but it also includes antiviral enzymes that turn it off completely,” said Dr. C. Dibakar Bhattacharyya, director of the Center for Membrane Sciences at the University of Kentucky, and leader of the research team. His work was published in the journal Nature Communications Materials on May 24.
The team developed the membrane and tested it using spike proteins from SARS-CoV-2, which were immobilized on synthetic particles. Not only was the material able to filter nearly 99% of coronavirus-sized aerosols, but it was also able to destroy viral proteins within 30 seconds of contact. This provides an extra layer of vital protection when it comes to avoiding infection. Unlike passive membranes, functional membranes provide additional benefits by interacting with viruses through inactivation or selective binding.
“It is promising for the development of new products that can protect against SARS-CoV-2 and other human pathogenic viruses,” Bhattacharyya said in the statement.
The pandemic is not over and the World Health Organization (WHO) holds the alarm, noting that in Europe, the number of cases has tripled, while hospitalization rates have doubled.