Portuguese scientists announce coronavirus-killing face mask

The Covid-resistant covering could overcome reluctance to mask up

A breakthrough in the fight against coronavirus has been made with the announcement of a Covid-resistant face mask.

The MOxAD-Tech mask has been developed as part of a joint initiative between Portuguese textile manufacturer Adalberto, fashion retailer MO, and the Lisbon-based Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM).

Masks have been on the front line of the attempt to inhibit the spread of coronavirus since the World Health Organisation (WHO) changed its guidance on wearing them in early June.

The chart below shows the WHO research on why masks are an effective means of inhibiting the spread of aerosol transmission.

Despite the broad scientific consensus on masks, many people remain unconvinced by their effectiveness.

This scepticism could be assuaged by the formulation of a fabric coating that “inactivates” Covid-19 on impact.

The coating has now been ratified by a series of tests carried out at the IMM - so while this close-up of the MOxAD may look like any other mask, it is anything but.

Pedro Simas, the lead virologist on the project, revealed that the mask “effectively inactivated” Covid-19, even after 50 washes, and reduced the virus by 99 per cent, one hour after contact.

The mask may be harmful to coronavirus but tests have also proven it to be completely harmless to humans, raising the intriguing prospect that the coating could be rolled out on other items. But Mr Simas has dampened optimism that it is a panacea.

He told euronews that it was "just another tool, another element on a mask", describing the invention as a "chemical barrier" on top of a physical one.

The MOxAD-Tech isn't the first feat of mask engineering, however. Earlier this month the National reported on the invention of the "smart" face mask by Japanese company Donut Robotics. This video shows how the mask works.

This technology is fun but more of a gimmick than of use in the battle to end the pandemic; those behind the MOxAD-Tech mask will hope their invention offers far greater utility.

Representatives from both Adalberto and MO were asked for comment but were unavailable.

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