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Covid-19 can be neutralised by facemask, Mexican researchers say

nose mask
Mexican nose mask allows eating and drinking; new mask neutralises virus

Researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have created a facemask using silver and copper nanolayers that neutralises SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, the university’s official gazette said on Thursday.

UNAM is calling the triple-layered antimicrobial facemask SakCu; Sak means silver in Mayan and Cu is the chemical symbol for copper.

To test the mask, researchers took drops with the virus from Covid-19-positive patients at the Hospital Juarez in Mexico and placed them on the silver-copper film deposited in polypropylene.

UNAM said that if the viral concentration was high, the virus disappeared by more than 80 per cent in about eight hours and if the viral load was low, in two hours none of the virus RNA was detected.

“Upon contact with the silver-copper nanolayer, the SARS-CoV-2 membrane breaks and its RNA is damaged,” the gazette said. “Thus, even if SakCu is disposed of improperly, it will not be a problem as it does not remain contaminated, like many of the masks that are thrown away.”
The facemask is reusable and can be washed up to 10 times without losing its biocide properties.
UNAM is not mass-producing the facemask and said that it currently has the capacity to produce 200 of them per day. There are plans to mass produce them working with existing manufacturers.

The research was led by UNAM’s Materials Research Institute. It has not been peer reviewed.

Separately, researchers in Mexico have made a nose-only Covid mask, which they say reduces the risk of infection of coronavirus during eating and talking.

The people behind this nose-only mask say taking off the face mask to eat or drink leaves one exposed to the virus, while this nose-only mask still provides some sort of protection.

“It (coronavirus) is very contigaous. It (infection) can occur through any of these three passages (eyes, nose, mouth),” said immunologist Gustavo Acosta. “Obviously, we cannot be infected by tears but we can be infected if an infected person sneezes or coughs. If there is no physical barrier we can get infected through respiratory dropped expelled from (COVID) patients or infected individuals. And with these infected individuals who have not been identified as having the infection.”


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