The use of protective respiratory face masks has been adopted universally as an important measure in the fight against COVID-19. Masks become contaminated by symptomatic and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals and the virus can remain viable on the surface of the masks for several days. Although the regular respiratory face masks are single use disposable masks, these masks are being largely reused and not often discarded after use by the general population. Mask touching during use, reuse and disposal occurs frequently, and this can lead to increased risk of infection and further transmission.
N95s and regular surgical masks were produced in which the external layers were made with nonwoven fabric impregnated with copper-oxide microparticles. The masks reduced the infectious titers of SARS-CoV-2 by more than 99.9% within 1 minute of contact, as determined by TCID50 assay and serial PCR assays. The use of masks capable of rendering the SARS-CoV-2 non-infectious within minutes, may significantly reduce the risk of viral transmission and infection.
Authors: Gadi Borkow, Danny Lustiger, Eyal Melamed, Vicki Herrera, Daniel Ackerman, St. Patrick Reid, Joshua Santarpia