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The study, published in the journal Matter, found that non-woven fabrics used in most masks work well to demonstrate the concept. Unsplash

People wear face masks to protect others — not merely to protect themselves. With this in mind, researchers have developed a new concept for a mask that aims to make the wearer less infectious.

The central idea is to modify mask fabrics with anti-viral chemicals that can sanitize exhaled, escaped respiratory droplets.


By simulating inhalation, exhalation coughs, and sneezes in the laboratory, the study, published in the journal Matter, found that non-woven fabrics used in most masks work well to demonstrate the concept.

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“We quickly realized that a mask not only protects the person wearing it but much more importantly, it protects others from being exposed to the droplets (and germs) released by the wearer,” said study author Jiaxing Huang from the Northwestern University in the US.

Although masks can block or reroute exhaled respiratory droplets, many droplets (and their embedded viruses) still escape.

From there, virus-laden droplets can infect another person directly or land on surfaces to indirectly infect others.

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Huang’s team aimed to chemically alter the escape droplets to make the viruses inactivate more quickly.


The central idea is to modify mask fabrics with anti-viral chemicals that can sanitize exhaled, escaped respiratory droplets. Pixabay

To accomplish this, Huang sought to design a mask fabric that: (1) Would not make breathing more difficult, (2) Can load molecular anti-viral agents such as acid and metal ions that can readily dissolve in escaped droplets, and (3) Do not contain volatile chemicals or easily detachable materials that could be inhaled by the wearer.

After performing multiple experiments, the research team selected two well-known antiviral chemicals: phosphoric acid and copper salt.

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These non-volatile chemicals were appealing because neither can be vaporized and then potentially inhaled. And both create a local chemical environment that is unfavorable for viruses.

Huang’s team grew a layer of conducting polymer polyaniline on the surface of the mask fabric fibers. The material adheres strongly to the fibers, acting as reservoirs for acid and copper salts.

Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: कौन हैं नाइश हसन, जिनके दादा थे जंग-ए-आजादी का हिस्सा

The researchers found that even loose fabrics with low-fiber packing densities of about 11 percent such as medical gauze, still altered 28 percent of exhaled respiratory droplets by volume.

For tighter fabrics, such as lint-free wipes (the type of fabrics typically used in the lab for cleaning), 82 percent of respiratory droplets were modified.

Also Read: Some Recovered COVID Patients Could Still Carry Virus

The researchers hope the current work provides a scientific foundation for others to develop their own versions of this chemical modulation strategy and test it further with viral samples or even with patients. (IANS)


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Singer Rihanna was honoured by Prime Minister Mia Mottley at an event which marked Barbados's new status as a republic, which was attended by Prince Charles. Addressing the pop star by her real name, the PM said: "Robyn Rihanna Fenty tomorrow morning shall have conferred upon her the order of national hero of Barbados."

Rihanna was then summoned from her seat to accept the honor, with the Prime Minister managing to rouse a laugh from the singer when she referenced her 2012 hit 'Diamonds', reports femalefirst.co.uk. She added: "On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you, the designee, for the national hero of Barbados." "And to accept on behalf of a grateful nation - you can come my dear - ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty, may you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation." Rihanna, who was born in the St Michael parish of Barbados, found fame in 2005 after being spotted by a record producer and has since gone on to become one of the most successful female artists of all time with sales of over 250 million and recently reached billionaire status through her Fenty beauty brand.

The Prime Minister continued in her speech: "Commanding the imagination of the world through the pursuit of excellence, her creativity, her discipline, and above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth. "Having satisfied that, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty has given service to Barbados which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attaining of the highest excellence to the Government of Barbados." It comes after a historic move for Barbados, which has become a republic after almost 400 years and welcomes its first president, Sandra Mason, after removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state. (IANS/ MBI)


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