COVID-19: Abu Dhabi researchers develop biodegradable mask

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A new environmentally-friendly mask has been developed by the Khalifa University of Science and Technology.

The novel anti-viral adaptive protective covering contains nanofibers with strong anti-microbial properties.

Billed as "biocompatible", the NavaMASK is the result of a joint collaboration between Abu Dhabi's Khalifa University and the University of Salerno in Italy.

It's made up of biodegradable filtration materials that have been selected to provide effective protection.

Developers also say the mask will not cause skin irritation and can be washed and reused several times before eventual disposal.

Dr Shadi W. Hasan, Associate Professor and Theme Lead of Nanomaterials and Membranes at the Center for Membranes and Advanced Water Technology at Khalifa University, said the team saw the crucial need for environmentally-friendly masks which also maintained the highest safety and breathability standards.

The protective covering contains perpendicularly arranged nanofibers with a diameter ranging between 100 and 600 nanometers.

The nanofibers will allow air to pass through but will reject particles and viruses, ensuring 99 per cent of bacteria is removed.

Researchers have already filed for a patent license for the bio-material and are currently planning to start Phase 2, which aims to introduce a new second-generation design for the NavaMASK.

Dr Vincenzo Naddeo, Director, Sanitary Environmental Engineering Division, SEED, at the University of Salerno said, "From early stages of the COVID19 outbreak, the SEED of the University of Salerno has promptly reconverted the laboratory activities to support national industries in the testing of respiratory devices according to international standards...NavaMASK is an innovative and sustainable solution in response to the strong demand for protective face masks from society and governments."

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