Virucidal composite fabric for PPE

Team Lead: Suryasarathi Bose, Kaushik Chatterjee
Email: sbose@iisc.ac.in, kchatterjee@iisc.ac.in

Problem statement

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that originated in Wuhan, China, is now a pandemic that has aggressively spread all over the world. Interestingly, this is the second outbreak of a similar virus, the first being SARS-CoV in 2003. The current rampaging virus, SARS-CoV-2, is about 80% genetically identical to the older one that infected humans 18 years ago.

Under this framework, and given that there is no vaccine currently available, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, gloves and surgical/lab coats are very important in the context of virus containment for healthcare workers during pandemics. Commercially available masks are based on the principle of physically blocking the entry of the bacteria and virus. But during handling, removal and disposal, live bacteria and viruses can get transferred to healthcare workers. For maximum protection to healthcare workers handling COVID-19 patients, the fabrics used in masks and other PPE should be virucidal. 

Our approach

Our approach deals with the fabrication of a cost-effective, antiviral and antibacterial 3-ply, textile-based face mask using an industrially scalable technology to prepare fibers of nanometer (nm) diameter with inter-fiber pores of nm size. 

Current antiviral masks available in the market are either expensive or are inefficient in reducing viral transmission. Due to high demand for PPE worldwide, the supply of quality PPE is limited. There is a need to rapidly manufacture affordable multi-layered masks with antiviral and antibacterial properties for protecting healthcare workers and other high-risk groups.

A combination of three layers consisting of polyester and cotton fabrics is used here to construct a 3-ply face mask to contain common viruses such as the influenza virus, as well as SARS-CoV-2. The three-layered mask consists of modified polyester, where a nanofibrous polymer membrane was deposited that renders the first layer highly hydrophobic. The first layer resists the entrance of any liquid drops containing the virus particles due to its hydrophobicity.

The middle layer is also coated with a nanofibrous membrane loaded with antiviral agents. This middle layer will inactivate viruses and other microbes that may have been transmitted through the first layer. Preliminary lab-scale testing suggests that viruses and bacteria can be killed when in contact with these coated materials. The innermost layer is a cotton fabric for the comfort of the user. This nanofibrous membrane can also be deposited on the surface of other PPEs such as gloves and lab coats for healthcare personnel with high effectiveness.

Team

  • Project leaders: Suryasarathi Bose and Kaushik Chatterjee
  • IISc students and staff members: Monika Rajput, Tanyaradzwa S. Muzata, Ammanuel Gebrekrstos

Current status

IP filed
Title: “Antimicrobial composite fabric and method thereof ”
Applicant: Indian Institute of Science


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