After extensive testing, a team of scientists at the University of Toronto have confirmed that a new face mask can actually "deactivate" the virus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. You now have even more good reason to tell the anti-maskers on your Facebook feed to put a (antimicrobial) lid on it.
The TrioMed Active mask, created by Quebec-based manufacturer i3 Biomedical Inc., has an external surface that deactivates 99 percent of the virus within minutes, according to a news release from the company. They've touted it as the first of its kind.
Researchers at U of T tested the mask and concluded that it indeed works as it's intended.
"The TrioMed Active Mask is the first and only respiratory protection that is scientifically proven to deactivate the virus causing COVID-19, therefore drastically reducing the risk of contamination for the wearer," said Pierre Jean Messier, CEO of i3 Biomedical Inc., in a statement. He added that the company "spent years and millions of dollars to develop this interactive antimicrobial technology."
The U of T scientists, led by Professor Scott Gray-Owen of the department of molecular genetics in the Faculty of Medicine, used the faculty's high-tech containment level three (CL2) lab to test the effectiveness of the TrioMed Active mask's antimocrobial coating. A statement from the university says they found "the novel coating deactivated more than 99 percent of SARS-CoV-2 within minutes, a finding that could represent a huge boon for health-care workers who are at risk of being contaminated with the virus by touching or adjusting their face masks." They note that the coronavirus has been shown to linger on the outer layer of masks for up to seven days.
"A big challenge for most people in the population who usually never wear surgical masks is comfort and fit. Because of this, people tend to be constantly adjusting their masks," said Gray-Owen. "So they’re either contaminating their hands or, if their hands are contaminated, they’re contaminating a mask that’s close to their face and maybe even depositing the virus there, which they might then inhale."
When the antimicrobial coating was present on the masks, the scientists “could not recover any infectious virus from the suspension that had been applied to the mask," said Grey-Owen. He added that the team “repeated the tests and this was a reproducible finding, so it was pretty clear that there was a difference between TrioMed coated and non-coated material.”
The masks are available for $7.29 CAD in packs of five at well.ca. According to the release, the face coverings have a five-year shelf life.