Brazilian researchers develop material that kills COVID-19; will be used to make masks

A group of Brazilian researchers developed a cloth material capable of eliminating SARS-CoV-2, the virus that transmits the new coronavirus, in just two minutes and 99.9 percent effective, scientific sources reported on Wednesday.

The polyester and cotton fabric, which was fused with a layer of two different silver microparticles, was developed by researchers from the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Sao Paulo (USP), with the support of scientists from the Jaume I University (Spain).

In the project, developed by a technological “startup” created by researchers from USP, researchers from the Functional Materials Development Center (CDMF) of the Foundation for Amparo to Research of the State of Sao Paulo (Fapesp), also participated and financed part of the investigation, disclosing the results this Wednesday.

The developed material will be used to make masks and clothing for doctors and hospitals by Nanox, a recently created company that is dedicated to the development of antibacterial and fungicidal tissues.

“We have already applied for the patent on the technology and are negotiating agreements with two Brazilian textile companies that will use it to manufacture protective masks and hospital personal protection equipment,” said Nanox director Luiz Gustavo Pagotto Simoes.

Tests carried out by those responsible for the innovation showed that tissues with silver microparticles were able to deactivate the virus in 99.9 percent of cases and only two minutes after the organism contaminated the material.

“The amount of virus that we use to contaminate the tissue is much higher than that exposed by a protective mask, and even so, the material was able to eliminate the virus with great efficiency, ” said Lucio Freitas Junior, a researcher at USP and one of those responsible for the technology.

“It was as if a bucket of particles with the virus had been thrown into a protective mask to leave it completely puddled, ” added Freitas Junior.

Researchers are still conducting studies to determine the duration of the material’s antiviral effect. In other materials developed by the company to fight bacteria and fungi, this property resists up to 30 washes.

Nanox is also conducting experiments to use the same technology on other materials, such as plastic films and flexible polymers.

“The tissue was the first result of applying the silver microparticles to inactivate the new coronavirus, but we may soon have several others,” Simoes said.


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