A team of scientists has developed a medical face mask film that can trap and inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein upon contact.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Professor Deepkar Bhattacharya of the University of Kentucky School of Engineering, who led the study, began work on materials development with collaborators from various disciplines in the UK.
SARS-CoV-2 is coated with “spiky” proteins that allow the virus to enter host cells as soon as it enters the body.
The team developed a membrane containing proteolytic enzymes that attach to and neutralize the spike protein.
“This new material can filter out the virus like an N95 mask, but it also includes antiviral enzymes that completely inactivate it,” said Bhattacharya, who is also director of the UK’s Center for Membrane Sciences. This innovation is another layer of protection against SARS. -CoV-2, which could help prevent the spread of the virus. The development of new products that can protect against SARS-CoV-2 and a number of other viruses that cause human diseases is promising.”
The team designed the membrane, which was manufactured through an existing collaboration with a membrane manufacturer. They then tested it using SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins that had been frozen on synthetic molecules.
This material was capable of not only filtering out aerosols the size of the Corona virus, but also destroying “spike” proteins within 30 seconds of contact.
‼️Congratulations to NSF PhD students Rollie Mills and Ronald Vogler, and DAAD RISE recipient Jacob Concolino, who worked on it’s incredible project!https://t.co/FnxknjFOSp
– Univ. of Kentucky National Competition Award (@UK_awards) July 20, 2022
Study published in the journal Communication materialsindicated that the membrane provides a protection factor higher than the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s N95 mask standard, meaning it can filter out at least 95% of airborne particles.
Researchers develop antiviral face a mask that can capture deactivate SARS-CoV-2 spike protein on contact https://t.co/nfX8zGYGQy
— Lifeboat Foundation (@LifeboatHQ) July 22, 2022
The study notes: “These membranes have proven to be a promising system for moving towards a new generation of respirator masks and filters for indoor environments that can significantly reduce coronavirus transmission by breaking down viral protein and capturing aerosol particles.”
Source: Science Daily.