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Discovery could lead to virus killing mask

Specific fabric doesn't just block coronavirus, it also kills it
Indiana University scientist discovery leads to virus killing mask. Image courtesy Chandan Sen
Indiana University scientist discovery leads to virus killing mask. Image courtesy Chandan Sen(Courtesy Chandan Sen)
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 5:58 PM EDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Social distancing, staying home and wearing masks are a few of the health guidelines listed by the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the coronavirus pandemic. But the CDC says none of those fully protect against the virus.

Possibly until now. A scientist at Indiana University discovered coronavirus cannot live in specific electroceutical forces.

“In the coronavirus you have this single stranded RNA, and you have the capsule,” explains Chandan Sen, director of the Regenerative Medicine and Engineering center at Indiana University. “And the association of the RNA and the capsule, which is the functional entity of the virus, it is based on electrostatic force.”

Sen and his team discovered that the electroceutical force doesn’t only block the coronavirus, but it also kills it. It’s found in fabric that’s already used in the Medical field, and can be made into masks.

“What we have is we’ve taken the fabric and we’ve just modified it for PPE for a face mask,” says Michael Nagel, President and CEO of Vomaris Innovation, a Tempe Arizona based company that manufactures the fabric. “So as you can see with Chandan’s help in development we have our bio-compatible micro cell batteries on the outside. And when they’re activated with an activation solution which lasts several hours, what that does is create an electrical field.”

Sen and his team experimented with the electrical fields. He tested the fabric with human coronavirus and found that within one minute to one hour the virus died. He says with a normal N-95 mask the virus will not penetrate and infect the host, yet it still lives on the outside. “You could also infect others because you have a high concentration of that active viral particle on the exterior if the mask,” says Sen. “In this case if you were to have a mask that the exterior of which is coated with our surface then upon contact the virus would lose it’s ability to infect.”

He says the discovery is more than just the fabric.

“The concept that this virus would respond to a particular weak electric field that’s safe for a human, I am more excited about that prospect than just about the fabric itself,” says Sen. He believes if this theory is true, anywhere with electricity can be used to block viruses.

As for the masks, Nagel says he is in communication with the FDA. The company applied for its emergency authorization for the masks and are hopeful the FDA will give the go-ahead for distribution within the next few weeks. Nagel did not have pricing information at this time, but says it will compare to some masks already on the market. The company is based in the United States, and completely manufactured there as well. He says he wants to distribute the product in the U.S. first once it becomes available.

The mask also works against influenza, and Nagel says he’s hopeful it will hit the market before flu season.

“We’ve got some health challenges ahead that I think we all need to tackle,” he tells 23 News. Sen agrees. “Look at the silver lining here, human civilization has been challenged and we need to show our resilience,” he says. “And this can be best done by each of us doing what we do best.”

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