In recent months, several researchers have been developing tissues capable of inactivating the amount of Sars-Cov-2, a virus responsible for causing Covid-19, on their surfaces. In early June, a Brazilian survey was highlighted for its effectiveness.
Nanox, a Startup that already produced fabrics that prevent the proliferation of fungi and bacteria, developed a fabric composed of polyester, cotton and two silver microparticles in order to fight the virus.
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The product was sent for testing to the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the University of São Paulo (ICB-USP) and, in partnership with Universitat Jaume I, from Spain, and with the Center for the Development of Functional Materials (CDMF) of the Fundação de Amparo to the São Paulo State Survey (Fapesp), it was proven that the tissue composition inactivates up to 99.9% of SARS-CoV-2 in two minutes of contact.
In Switzerland, a study similar to the one carried out in São Paulo proved the same effectiveness in early June in tests with facial masks.
But after all, are the tissues effective in fighting coronavirus? What is its application? And the cost of these fabrics, is it much higher? THE G1 listened to the researchers of the Brazilian project and an infectologist to answer these questions.
How has the fabric been proven effective?
To test the effectiveness of the tissue, the researchers used a large amount of the virus in the laboratory and isolated this sample. Inside a flask, the tissue was flushed with a huge viral load and it was observed whether Sars-Cov-2 was inactive (see image below).
According to Luiz Gustavo Pagotto Simões, director of Nanox in two minutes of contact of the polyester fabric, cotton and two silver microparticles with the virus, 99.9% of Sars-Cov-2 was inactivated.
“There (in the sample) you will have a thousand units of virus. Eliminating 99.9%, you lower it to five units of virus. Then you have a drastic reduction in the virus. The product is also an anti fungus, anti-odor and eliminates the bacteria” , said the director in an interview with G1.
The Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the University of São Paulo (ICB-USP), responsible for isolating SARS-Cov-2 in Brazil, carried out the tissue tests, led by Professor Lúcio Freitas Junior, researcher ICB-USP, who explains how the procedure was performed:
“We infected a tissue without modification, another with two modifications and one with the virus that was in a little tube, with nothing, during all this time. We had to assume the chaos and test all possible possibilities, and it gave a result interesting. The normal tissue (without modification) already eliminates 20% of the virus. In the cloth with the modification, it eliminates 99.9% of the virus. Simply that “, said the professor.
What is the application in everyday life?
When going to a supermarket or a store, for example, the person is constantly in contact with viruses and bacteria. In an assumption in which this person touches an object contaminated with the coronavirus and immediately passes the hand on the shirt, the fabric with the developed technology can disable 99.9% of the virus in two minutes.
As a result, contagion through contact may be reduced in certain situations. Infectologist Alexandre Barbosa, of the Infectious Disease Society of São Paulo, however, warns that contact is NOT the biggest cause of transmission of the Covid-19 virus.
“Although studies show that these tissues can actually be protective in order to inactivate Covid, other viruses, bacteria and fungi, this has an applicability, a minor importance, secondary in relation to Covid, since transmission by contact does not it’s so important. What I mean: it’s not the most important. About 70%, 80% of people are contaminated by droplets, respiratory form “, comments Barbosa.
In facial masks, however, the infectologist believes that there is greater importance and the type of tissue can be an ally in combating the spread of the virus.
What products can be made?
The fabrics can be used in the manufacture of different clothes: jeans for the production of pants and jackets, social shirts, company uniforms, gym clothes, medical coat and medical devices in general.
According to Professor Lúcio Freitas Junior, companies that work in the manufacture of wood and plastic have already sought him out to test these materials. However, there is no indication that these tests will be carried out at this time.
How long will the fabric last?
Tests have shown that the tissue can be washed up to 30 times until the effect against the virus starts to be impaired. The researchers want to increase this durability in the next confections.
Luiz Gustavo Pagotto Simões estimates that products made with polyester fabric, cotton and two silver microparticles are 3% to 5% more expensive than the common ones sold in stores.
According to Simões, technological fabrics are already on sale in the greater São Paulo and in the interior of the state.
In other countries, tissue technologies to fight coronavirus are also being developed.
In Indiana, in the United States, scientists have developed tissue capable of inactivating the coronavirus using a weak electric field with microcell batteries. The study shows that the rate of electricity is not harmful to human health.
In Israel, a company developed a fabric coated with zinc oxide nanoparticles, which also destroys bacteria, fungi and viruses. According to the Reuters agency, a pilot test with the fabrics is being carried out in Italy in vehicles and public transport.
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