A mask that destroys viruses at the push of a button

Researchers from the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) have developed a self-disinfecting reusable mask. An electrochemical process inactivates any viruses that may be present.

The multilayer mask comprises in particular a conductive textile and an insulating membrane. A rechargeable battery produces a voltage of a few volts which releases reactive oxygen compounds which destroy viruses and bacteria in a few minutes.

The mask surface can thus be sterilized at the push of a button, even while wearing it. Tests conducted with MS2-bacteriophage viruses have shown efficacy exceeding 99%, ZHAW said in a statement Tuesday. However, these are much more resistant than Sars-CoV-2.

The process is safe for humans. The product developed in collaboration with the company Osmotex AG should be available in the spring for around CHF 25. It received support from Innosuisse.

The researchers are also considering other applications, such as coverings for seats in public transport, for door handles, even purses that disinfect money.

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