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The face mask is one of the most formidable sources of external protection that has been researched extensively due to the current pandemic situation. The variety of masks have evolved according to their efficacy and applicability, with one of the most exciting variants using the latest antiviral treatment technology called ViralOff and nanofiltration technology. These masks are developed by är, a company that specializes in protective equipment.
What is ViralOff technology?
ViralOff is an antiviral technology that reduces viruses by more than 99% over two hours. It was developed by a Sweden-based company called Polygiene and reduces over-washing. It can be applied to textiles and other products.
är masks, which feature ViralOff technology, are capable of self-cleaning over two hours. The textile or the medium concerned is treated with a coating of ViralOff in which the active ingredient is a reaction mass of titanium dioxide (TiO2)and silver chloride (AgCl).
The coating has been tested against H3N2, H1N1, Bird flu, Corona (SARS) and was proven to give 99% protection in all random trials. The technology has been certified by ISO 18184:2019, ATCC VR-1679 (H3N2) and ATCC VR-1469 (H1N1) tests and is skin-friendly for continuous wearing concerns.
Filtration is a process of removing particulate matter from a medium by forcing the medium through another porous media. Filtration removes particles or materials depending on the size of the pores of the filter.
Usually a nanofiltration filter is designed to have a pore size around 0.001 microns. Nanofiltration helps to remove most organic molecules, nearly all viruses, and most of the natural organic matters that might be harmful. Therefore, the role of nanofilters is not something to be overlooked for applications in any external protective equipment such as face masks.
A nanofilter comprises three layers, and the nanofibers within the filter are 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. är face masks feature nanofilters with the ability to block 99.8% of pollutants commonly found in the air, including smog, bacteria, pollen and other allergens and contaminants. The efficacy of the nanofilters has been certified by well-known microbiology testers, Nelson Labs.
Nanotechnology and the Fight Against COVID-19
What Other Features Make the är Masks Important?
är face masks are treated with the ‘Eco Acqua Zero’ technology, which makes the mask’s surface water repellent. This treatment also drives water accumulated inside the mask to the surface until it evaporates. It acts as a first protective layer acting against particulates released due to coughing or sneezing during regular interactions.
The mask’s time-saving two-hour self-cleaning property, combined with the nanotechnology filters, makes them the most technologically enhanced and efficient mask available right now.
How is this Project Important for Face Mask Research and the Industry?
As the understanding of the SARS Covid-19 virus causing the current pandemic has evolved, the relevance of face masks has evolved too.
Marie Stoner, an epidemiologist at Research Triangle International, a nonprofit research institute based in North Carolina, has underlined asymptotic transmissions from asymptotic patients or nearly symptomatic patients as the main driving force behind the implementation of rules for wearing face masks.
According to Stoner, it is essential to wear masks to avoid infecting or being infected by someone else in situations of social interaction.
Nanotechnology in Washable and Reusable Face Masks
Dr. Lee Riley, division head of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at UC Berkeley, has stated that a combination of the low rates of the current COVID-19 pandemic in Asian countries and experiments on the filtering ability of different materials had been a driving force for changing attitudes in the scientific community towards face masks.
Therefore, this är project helps us to step forward towards the evolution of face mask research as it combines all features needed to upgrade face masks. Using self-cleaning properties and blocking deadly viruses efficiently, face masks should be well-equipped and the first in the line of defense towards external protection.
References and Further Reading
Är. [Online] Available at: https://arfacemask.com/ (Accessed on 7 September 2020).
Alvarado, M. (2020) To mask or not to mask: The evolving science and policy recommendations on masks. [Online] Mission Local. Available at: https://missionlocal.org/2020/06/to-mask-or-not-to-mask-the-evolving-science-and-policy-recommendations-on-masks/ (Accessed on 7 September 2020).
Smart Water Magazine. (2019) What is the difference between microfiltration, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration? [Online] Available at: https://smartwatermagazine.com/news/membracon/whats-difference-between-microfiltration-ultrafiltration-and-nanofiltration (Accessed on 7 September 2020).