IShield, a Bengaluru-based startup, has developed a six-layer mask. It is made up of a material, called tekfabric, that binds around a molecule that ruptures and kills COVID-19, Deccan Herald reported.
COVID-19 belongs to a family of enveloped viruses. Speaking to Deccan Herald, Nitish Sathyanarayan, co-founder of IShield, explains how their strategy was to reak this envelope made up of lipid bilayer. “IS-212 is a broad spectrum virucidal molecule, whose highly charged groups puncture a hole in the virus envelope. If the envelope is ruptured, the virus loses infectivity," he said.
The tekfabric is a part of the innermost and outermost layers of the mask. According to Sathyanarayan, the outer layer prevents the entry of the virus, while the innermost ensures that the virus does not escape into the atmosphere if the wearer is an asymptomatic patient. The rest of the middle four layers are non-woven fabric-based filters.
The biggest challenge was to merge this molecule with the mask. For this, IShield has engineered a linker. This linker can covalently bond with a cellular substance such as cotton, which will remain bound for up to30 washes. It is only susceptible to bleach and not detergent, says Sathyanarayan.
According to the report, wearing a surgical mask for longer than 4 hours can get quite risky as there is potential for the virus on the surface to leak through. Disposing of some of these masks without incineration could also be risky, which is why IShield developed a mask that not only prevents the virus but also kills it, Sathyanarayan said.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.