INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Promising research out of the IU School of Medicine could improve the protection from COVID-19 for healthcare workers and anyone else wearing a mask during the pandemic.
The study showed that masks made from electroceutical fabric disrupted the infectivity of the coronavirus.
The dot-matrix pattern of embedded silver and zinc microcell batteries create an electric field and wirelessly generate a low level of electricity when moist.
"The fact that I tell you that there are metals in there you just have to believe me, because your fingers and your other senses would not be able to tell," said Dr. Chandan Sen, principal author of the study and director of the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering at the IU School of Medicine. “The fabric destabilizes the electrical properties of the virus."
Electrostatic forces in the fabric disrupt the infection power of the virus. The technology is already used to prevent bacterial infection in wounds.
The discovery could provide additional protection for healthcare workers and everyone now wearing masks.
"We, as the health care professionals community, have sort of failed the larger community,” said Dr. Sen. “That's my version of the story. Somewhere something went wrong, and we could not provide the comfort and the safety net that our society deserved."
The masks can be washed multiple times without losing their effectiveness.
"Frankly, at this time, nobody at least, I'm not thinking of commerce,” said Dr. Sen. “I'm thinking of how can this go forward in a sustainable manner to benefit people. The fact that we made an observation and finally it worked out, that feels good in a way that at least we have made a timely contribution to society."
Dr. Sen meets with the FDA on Monday to begin the process of federal approval for the masks.