MIT’s face masks can inactivate Covid-19

Boston, October 29

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have designed a novel face mask that can not only filter out the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, but also inactivate it using heat.

The new mask incorporates a heated copper mesh and does not need to be decontaminated or thrown away after use, according to the researchers. As the person wearing the mask breathes in and out, air flows repeatedly across the mesh, and any viral particles in the air are slowed and inactivated by the mesh and high temperatures, the researchers have said.

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Such a mask could be useful for healthcare professionals as well as members of the public in situations where social distancing would be difficult to achieve, such as a crowded bus, they said.

“This is a completely new mask concept in that it doesn’t primarily block the virus. It actually lets the virus go through the mask, but slows and inactivates it,” said Michael Strano, a professor at the MIT in the US.

The researchers have begun building prototypes and hope to begin testing them soon. — PTI

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