Ascend: Virus inactivation by zinc-embedded P...

Virus inactivation by zinc-embedded PA 66 fabric

SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A inactivated by zinc-embedded PA fabric (Source: Ascend Performance Materials)
SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A inactivated by zinc-embedded PA fabric (Source: Ascend Performance Materials)

An international team of scientists and engineers has found that a polyamide (PA) fabric embedded with zinc ions successfully inactivated 99% of the viruses that cause Covid-19 and the common flu (influenza). The team consists of members of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge/UK, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY/USA, ResInnova Labs, Silver Spring, MD/USA, and Ascend Performance Materials LLC, Houston, TX/USA. Face masks, protective clothing and filters are used to slow the spread of viruses.
However, poor-quality masks can harbor active viruses from infected wearers, posing a transmission risk. A major challenge is absorption and inactivation. Polypropylene (PP), the material in commonly used disposable masks, is a hydrophobic plastic and does not absorb moisture. Instead, the viruses can sit on the surface of the mask, posing a transmission risk when the mask is handled.

A fabric made of PA 66 embedded with active zinc ions absorbs virus-containing moisture droplets and effectively inactivated the particles. The fabric produced a 2-log, or 99%, reduction of virus particles in one hour. The research team also was able to demonstrate that PA with active zinc ions remains stable over time, keeping its virus-inactivating properties after 50 washes. 

The findings have significant implications for future development of PPE. Pathogen-free PPE not only cuts down the risk of transmitting the virus, but by making PPE washable and reusable, the need for single-use products is also reduced.

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