Last week, we discussed the antimicrobial properties of copper, the re-introduction of which experts argue could help the fight against Coronavirus and future pandemics — particularly in hospitals and other public spaces.
Taking the notion of a new idea often being an old one further, an Israeli scientist has taken the mainstay material copper, and developed a proprietary cotton embedded with accelerated copper oxide particles, and combined it with a nanofiber textile that blocks pathogens to create a “reusable, washable, breathable antiviral facemask.”Textile engineer Jeff Gabbay, who has a background in pathology and infectious diseases, has likened the process he discovered to beneficially infuse cotton to “commercial pasta-making on steroids.”
His company, which, according to news reports should be nearing completion of the production of the first 20,000 facemasks this month and has plans to expand production to a wide variety of fabric products, recently completed testing at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School sponsored by the Centers of Disease Control.
The tests found that by changing patients’ gowns and bedding to the company’s “self-sterilizing copper-infused textiles,” healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) could be reduced by 25%, and multi-drug resistant organisms could be reduced by 40%. These numbers could be even more staggering if copper-infused textiles were used for “all things hospital” gear – including hospital staff uniforms, lab coats, scrubs and robes.
We have frequently discussed the neck-breaking speed with which materials science is changing the application of metals and minerals. Here’s a real-life example of how an old school material’s new applications could potentially save countless lives.
Sandra Wirtz serves as Director of Research at the American Resources Policy Network. She also works as a public affairs consultant, and is an adjunct scholar at the James Madison Institute in Florida, a state-based free-market think tank. Wirtz has extensive experience working with U.S. policy makers at all levels of government, as well as academics, think tanks and grassroots organizations across the United States on a broad range of issues.