The use of personal protective equipment has been a feature of the management of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (PPE). Face masks are a prime example of PPE that has significantly benefited society. However, the majority of frequently used face masks are constructed of materials that are incapable of inactivating either SARS-CoV-2 or microorganisms that are resistant to several drugs. Therefore, due to living microbial loads escaping from the masks, even symptomatic and asymptomatic people who are wearing them can still infect others. Furthermore, touching the mask can result in the spread of microbes, and discarded masks pose a significant threat to the environment by increasing the amount of biological waste they contain.
Due to this, numerous researchers have been working throughout the current pandemic to create face masks composed of cutting-edge materials with inherent antibacterial, self-cleaning, reusable, and/or biodegradable qualities, thereby sustainably giving extra protection against viruses. One paper discusses the many commercially available face mask types, their primary fabrication processes and treatments, and the advancements made in face mask development to provide a summary of this portion of the impressive efforts against COVID-19.
What justifies the use of masks?
Masks are an essential barrier to halting the disease’s spread and saving lives.
Along with keeping a physical distance, avoiding crowded, enclosed, and close-contact environments, ensuring good ventilation in indoor places, routinely cleaning hands, and concealing sneezes and coughs with a bent elbow tissue, other preventative measures to take include, wearing well-fitted masks should be part of a comprehensive “Do it all!” approach.
What sort of mask do the general populations wear?
WHO advises the public to wear one of three types of masks:
- Reusable non-medical masks that adhere to ASTM F3502 standards, CEN Working Agreement 17553 standards, or non-medical masks that meet WHO essential requirements;
- Medical masks that are disposable and adhere to EN 14683 Type I, ASTM F2100 Level 1, YY/T 0969, and YY 0469 (or comparable) standards.
The following populations are also advised to wear disposable medical masks since they are more likely to contract COVID-19 and develop life-threatening symptoms if exposed:
- 60 years of age or older.
- Anybody with underlying health issues
Masks can be used for both prevention of transmission and the protection of healthy individuals, depending on the type.
What distinguishes N95s from medical masks such as face shields?
Surgical masks, commonly referred to as medical masks, are:
- A three-layer structure made of synthetic nonwoven materials.
- Designed with middle-sandwich filtration layers
- Obtainable in various thicknesses
Have different amounts of filtration and fluid resistance.
There are various performance levels of respirators, often known as filtering facepiece respirators (FFP), including FFP2, FFP3, N95, N99, and N100.
The filtration value of both respirator masks and medical masks is comparable. Respirators, however, also have a snug fit around the wearer’s face because the model and size are customized for the wearer to ensure a good seal. Respirator masks are intended to safeguard medical personnel who treat COVID-19 patients in environments where
How do I find the best fit and materials for a fabric mask that I’m going to buy or make myself?
Fit, breathability, and filtration are all crucial.
If you buy a non-medical mask, make sure the label says it complies with the CEN Working Agreement 17553 or ASTM F3502 standard.
You should use three layers of cloth if you decide to build your mask.
- Cotton or another absorbent material forms the inner layer.
- non-woven, non-absorbent material in the middle, like polypropylene.
- non-absorbent material, such as polyester or a polyester blend, is used as the outer layer.
FUTURE OF FACE MASK
• Burzo Ciprian submitted The Social Mask, a “smart” mask that incorporates temperature sensors and a filter ventilation system. The wearer’s proximity to other users and the likelihood of viral infection can be checked using this sort of face mask in conjunction with a mobile device application. The face mask would be made of substances like polycarbonate or polypropylene to accommodate allergies while keeping functionality, with an emphasis on a contemporary, lightweight appearance and feel.
• Materials that are adaptable and lightweight that Monica Berger has used to transform face masks into accessories that resemble scarves. The Maskarf face mask has biosensors, eco-friendly fabric, a nose bridge wire, a removable charcoal filter, and adjustable straps for a better fit and to make it simpler to wear when exercising.
Researchers have made a face mask for common respiratory viruses, like the coronavirus and influenza, which identify their presence in the air as droplets or aerosols. The highly sensitive mask, which was unveiled on September 19 in the journal Matter, can notify its users within 10 minutes via their mobile devices if a certain pathogen is present in the air around them. Respiratory viruses that cause COVID-19 and H1N1 influenza act by releasing microscopic droplets and aerosols into the air when an infected person speaks, coughs, or sneezes. These molecules contain a virus and remain in the atmosphere for a long time.
Spraying the viral surface protein-containing liquid and aerosols on the mask in an enclosed chamber allowed Fang and his colleagues to test it. 0.3 microliters of liquid carrying viral proteins, according to Fang, is a lot less than the volume of liquid produced by coughing or talking. The sensor also responded to even smaller amounts of viral proteins.
Aptamers, a kind of synthetic molecule that can recognize particular proteins of pathogens like antibodies, were used by the team to create a tiny sensor. The scientists changed the multi-channel sensor in their proof-of-concept design so that it could simultaneously recognize the surface proteins of the SARS-CoV-2, H5N1, and H1N1 viruses.
The project is funded by the National Key Research and Development Program, the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.