COVID-19: Pune-based startup develops 'virucidal' mask that inactivates virus

Thincr's project is amongst the earliest ones to have been selected for commercialisation by the Technology Development Board (TDB) to further India's mission to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19: Pune-based startup develops 'virucidal' mask that inactivates virus
(Representational Image)

A Pune-based startup has developed a special face mask that can neutralise the novel coronavirus as it comes in contact with it.

The face mask, which inactivates viral particles that it meets, has been created with a combination of 3D printing and pharmaceuticals, the Department of Science and Technology said on Monday, June 14.

Developed by Thincr Technologies India Pvt. Ltd., these masks are coated with anti-viral agents known as virucides.

This project is amongst the earliest projects to have been selected for commercialisation by the Technology Development Board (TDB), a statutory body of the Department Science and Technology, GOI, in the mission to fight the pandemic.

The project received financial support from TDB to search for novel solutions to fight coronavirus in May 2020.

Thincr worked with Merck Life Sciences' Nerul facility to develop virucidal coating formulations and then used 3D printing techniques to coat fabric layers evenly. This coated layer can be incorporated as an additional layer in N-95 masks, 3-ply masks, simple cloth masks, 3D printed or other plastic cover masks, along with reusable filters. The filters of these reusable masks have also been developed using 3D printing.

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According to the DST, the coating has been tested and has successfully deactivated the SARS-CoV-2. The material used in it is a sodium olefin sulfonate-based mixture, a soap-forming agent. When this agent comes in contact with an enveloped virus, it disrupts the virus's outer membrane and inactivates it.

The ingredients used are stable at room temperature, and are widely used in cosmetics.

So far, 6,000 such virucidal masks have been distributed by an NGO. Reports suggest that these masks have made their way to healthcare workers at four government hospitals in Nandurbar, Nashik and Bengaluru. In addition, masks have also been delivered to a girls’ school and college in Bengaluru.

Thincr Technologies Founder Director Dr Shitalkumar Zambad said that the masks had been found to have bacterial filtration efficiency higher than 95 per cent. Along with applying for a product patent, the startup has also begun commercial scale production of the the anti-viral masks.

Also Read: COVID-19: Types of mask that keeps you protected from coronavirus

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