Mexico City (APRO). A group from the Materials Research Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), headed by Sandra Rodel, has created and registered a reusable antimicrobial mask called “SakCu” that inactivates the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
A face mask made at UNAM has been supported by the Secretariat for Education, Science, Technology and Innovation of Mexico City and will soon be available in the UNAM Store, according to the top study house at UNAM Gazette.
The research showed that the nano-coated silver and copper inactivated the coronavirus. This was done to end the problem of constant disposal of the mask.
Its name responds to the word Sak, which means silver in the Mayan language, and Cu, which is short for the element copper, both of which are biocidal minerals, as the mask is made of three layers and can be washed up to 10 times without losing its biocidal. Properties. , without deterioration of the nano-coating and can be reused, reducing the impact on the environment caused by single-use masks.
The outer and inner part are made of cotton and the middle is made of nano-layers of silver and copper deposited in polypropylene, where the antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties of these metals have been proven.
“As we saw at the beginning of the epidemic (The New England Journal of Medicine 382; 16, 2020) copper surfaces are the fastest reducing the virus that causes covid-19.
When mixed with silver and copper, it forms a nano-layer between 30 and 40 nanometers thick and provides double protection against viruses and bacteria.
The team of researchers from UNAM tested the mask in cooperation with Juarez Hospital, and they placed droplets with coronavirus taken from patients infected with the Covid-19 virus on a silver copper membrane deposited in polypropylene and it was noted that the virus disappeared in more. 80% in 8 hours if the viral load is high, but if it is low, within 2 hours nothing of the coronavirus RNA has been detected.
“On contact with the silver and copper nanoparticles, the SARS-CoV-2 membrane breaks and its RNA is damaged,” added the UNAM Gazette note.
Their viability was also tested on the surface of silver and copper nano-layers from a group of 5 bacteria of hospital origin, grouped under the acronym ESKAPE that cause hospital infections and “almost all of them were eliminated, after 4 hours, by one hundred percent.”, he added.
In addition, there are no greater risks with regard to moisture, because when placed in water for 24 hours, the amount of silver and copper released is minimal.
“It has a filtration efficiency of up to 50% for the smallest aerosol-type particles, and between 80 and 90% for 2.5 micron particles,” he noted.
He added that although the filtering is still being improved, the protection provided by the SakCu mask is “very good” and if viruses or bacteria fall on it within a few hours, it will be disabled, and even if it is disposed incorrectly it will not be a problem because it is not Well it will be contaminated, like many who have thrown it away.
In addition, a study was conducted with the UNAM Institute for Biomedical Research to see if the silver and copper nanocoating was effective in destroying non-enveloped viruses such as HPV, but it was not successful there.
On the other hand, National Institute of Rehabilitation (INR) cytotoxicity tests were performed to exclude risks to people wearing masks due to direct contact with the skin and the response of cells was the same as that observed in commercials. masks. “There was no cytotoxic effect or danger,” he said.
Similarly, the researchers announced that it is planned to manufacture another surgical type that can be washed three to five times, and it will be manufactured with thermal insulation systems to reduce costs.
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