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Which face mask to wear indoors to protect against Covid-19? Top health official suggests

The mask is environmentally friendly as the mask can potentially be worn longer, causing less plastic waste as it does not need to be replaced as frequently, the researchers said. (PTI)Premium
The mask is environmentally friendly as the mask can potentially be worn longer, causing less plastic waste as it does not need to be replaced as frequently, the researchers said. (PTI)

  • Researchers have developed a new N95 face mask which can potentially reduce Covid-19 spread and also kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus upon contact with it

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Health experts and researchers continue to recommend wearing the face mask for personal protection against the Covid-19 virus even as countries battle the decision to issue mask mandates as Covid-19 cases continue to fluctuate. Global health leader and epidemiologist Dr Tom Frieden has said that those who are worried about getting Covid-19 infection while surrounded by others who do not wear a mask must consider upgrading to an N95. 

“If you're concerned about getting Covid (medically vulnerable or otherwise) and you're indoors with others who aren't masked, consider upgrading to an N95. Cloth and surgical mask protect if all wear, but if others aren't masked, a tightly fitting N95 is much more effective," Dr Tom Frieden recommends.

Earlier this month, it was announced that researchers have developed a new N95 face mask that can potentially reduce Covid-19 spread and also kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus upon contact with it. Add to that, the mask is environmentally friendly as the mask can potentially be worn longer, causing less plastic waste as it does not need to be replaced as frequently, the researchers said.

Edmund Palermo, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the United States said, "we think the work is a first step toward longer-lasting, self-sterilising personal protective equipment, such as the N95 respirator. It may help reduce transmission of airborne pathogens in general."

As per the research recently published in the journal Applied ACS Materials and Interfaces, the team successfully grafted broad-spectrum antimicrobial polymers onto the polypropylene filters used in N95 face masks.

The active filtration layers in N95 masks are very sensitive to chemical modification, the researchers have said. The team, including researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, attached antimicrobial quaternary ammonium polymers to the fibre surfaces of nonwoven polypropylene fabrics using ultraviolet (UV)-initiated grafting.

The researchers have said that the process can be applied to already manufactured polypropylene filters, rather than necessitating the development of new ones, the team did see a decrease in filtration efficiency when the process was applied directly to the filtration layer of N95 masks, but the solution is straightforward.

(With inputs from PTI)

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