Although some countries might have won their battle against the novel coronavirus pandemic, the rest of the world is still facing the wrath of the first wave while some worst-hit places have reported new cases after flattening the curve.
As places reopen, the public's way to defend themselves against COVID-19 is through maintaining social distancing as well as using face masks, which is why researchers are continuing their search to make face masks more capable of protecting its users.
Using Electroceuticals Against COVID-19
In a report by BGR, one of the probable ways researchers think face masks could be more protective is by adding an electric field on its surface.
The technology, known as electroceuticals--a combination of the words "pharmaceuticals" and "electrostatic"--is not new as it is already being used in dressing wounds.
Vomaris made a polyester product that has printed little dots on it made from zinc and silver.
The alternating pattern then makes microcell batteries, which then generates an electric field that activates when it is exposed to moisture and will then be able to zap any pathogens that would cause infection.
Through avoiding any infection, the wound would be able to heal faster and better.
Study Using Electroceuticals Against Coronavirus
One of the few companies using the tech is Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering, headed by Chandan Sen, who is currently pioneering and working on a similar idea against the COVID-19 virus.
To see whether it does help against coronavirus, Sen and his team penned a paper explaining how the technology can be used in personal protective equipment (PPE).
The paper, which is published in ChemRxiv, is not yet peer-reviewed.
Nevertheless, the group of researchers used a polyester fabric without the microcell batteries on its surface as a control variable and used a PPE made from electroceutical material, and then exposed both fabrics to a water solution that included a different respiratory coronavirus.
According to Forbes, they found out that only a minute of contact is already enough for the electroceutical fabric to eradicate coronavirus cells.
In addition, they found out that the infected cells that have recovered from the electroceutical fabric did not have the cytopathic effects that should be expected in viral invasions, which means these viral pathogens are as good as non-infectious cells.
If this works with the SARS-CoV-2 virus or the virus that causes COVID-19, any viral cell that survives won't be able to infect other people, mitigating the spread of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the cells that were in contact with the normal polyester fabric survived and did not receive the same protection.
Although Sen and his team's research experiment showed some promise, further study is required to characterize the novel coronavirus's structural change when exposed to the electroceutical fabric.
Nevertheless, the researchers wished their research is the first step in receiving a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization that will allow them to distribute the technology widely for use in face masks.
As of writing, there are already over 5.59 million confirmed cases of COVID-19.