A new face mask that is thought to be able to kill more than 90 per cent of Covid-19 and flu viruses could be available to buy by December.
The antiviral mask has been developed by a scientist at Nottingham Trent University, and is capable of killing a virus on contact.
How does it work?
Unlike most face masks which have a three layer design, this new mask has five layers, including an antiviral layer which is made of nano-copper.
The copper has ions that are emitted once they come into contact with a virus. When this happens, it causes the virus to die and stop reproducing.
During tests, the mask was found to be capable of killing more than 90 per cent of coronavirus and influenza virus over seven hours, and had a filtration efficient of 99.98 per cent.
Dr Gareth Cave, who designed the mask, told The Mirror: “The mask we’ve developed has been proven to inactivate viruses upon contact; the antiviral layer kills the virus which has been blocked by the filter layers.
“The challenge with conventional surgical-type masks is that they only block viruses from entering or exiting the mask. They don’t have an active mechanism for killing it once it’s trapped in the mask.
“Our new antiviral mask has been designed to utilise the existing barrier technology and combine it with our nanotechnology to kill the virus once it is trapped there.
“We’ve added the barrier layer to both sides of the mask so not only does it protect the wearer but also those around. By killing the virus on contact, it also means that the used face mask can be safely disposed of and not be a potential source of passive transfer.”
When will the masks be available?
The masks are expected to go into production this month, and should be commercially available from December for healthcare, transport and food service settings.
The cost of the masks has not yet been confirmed, but researchers have said they will be in line with current Type IIR mask prices, which retail for around £10 for a box of 50.