New medical grade face masks are becoming increasingly available. One particular mask - the ISHIELD has now been tested extensively by over five different labs. The ISHIELD mask is made from a material that incorporates a bug-busting molecule known as SAFE-212. The SAFE-212 molecule has been bonded into a fabric known as TekFABRIK. Furthermore, the molecule is so securely linked to the fabric that the masks can be washed up to thirty times before it starts losing its virucidal (and anti-bacterial) properties.
Rupturing the viral envelope
The reason why soaps, detergents and alcohol-based washes kill the virus, is because these chemicals rupture the outer envelope of the virus, and SAFE-212 works on the same principle.
Lab testing the masks
Dr Michael N.Teng, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Medicine, Molecular Medicine, and Pediatrics at The University of South Florida has produced a report following the testing of the tekFABRIK. The tests looked at the inactivation of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infectivity following passage through the fabric. The RSV was chosen as a marker due to it's similarity to SARS-CoV viruses and is an enveloped virus containing a strand of RNA genome. RSV also spreads through the air, is highly contagious and is a major cause of chest infections. It is therefore a good comparative virus to test.
Following a series of experiments their final observation was, "TekFABRIK has a high virucidal activity against RSV with 97% reduction in viral activity after five minutes".
In a separate study headed for Dr Jogin Desai by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) the report summarises as follows:
"Significant virucidal activity was observed with the modified [TekFABRIK] cloth. Study on toxicity and virucidal activity on other viruses is also conducted independently and in collaboration with other teams nationally and internationally".