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.