Doctors recommend wearing protective masks indoors during a coronavirus pandemic, although they are far from ideal because they cannot provide complete protection. Therefore, researchers are now working to create a mask that could destroy the SARS-CoV-2 virus upon contact with it.
Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, even when using a mask, carries the risk of contracting a coronavirus, as it can be present on any surfaces you touch, including the mask.
Researchers at the University of Kentucky are currently creating the outer layer of a protective mask, which may include a membrane with enzymes that can capture and kill the virus. Enzymes attach to the SARS-CoV-2 component, which adheres to human cells – protein spikes – and separate them. As a result, the virus will be destroyed upon contact with this layer of the mask.
“Protein spikes help the virus penetrate the host cells of the body. This new membrane will include proteolytic enzymes that can attach to and separate the coronavirus protein spikes, killing the virus.”, Said chemical engineering professor Dibakar Bhattacharyya (pictured above), head of the Center for Membrane Sciences at the University of Kentucky, in an interview with Newsweek.
The scientist explained that the mask will also be able to remove viral particles in the air, which may be an additional advantage of the mask. “This innovation will slow down and even prevent the spread of the virus. He will also have future protection against a number of other human pathogenic viruses.“Says Bhattacharya.
The National Science Foundation under the US Government allocated Bhattacharya a grant of $ 160 thousand for this development. According to the scientist, it will take about six months to create and test a membrane protective mask.
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