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NUI Galway researchers develops barrier spray to increase protection of reusable masks

Researchers at NUI Galway with a new initiative to reduce reliance on disposable masks and protect the environment by reducing plastic waste.

Aquila Bioscience, a medical biotech company established by NUIG researchers, has developed a new barrier spray that can be used to treat disposable face masks to prevent contamination from COVID-19 and other airborne pathogens.

Their goal is to reduce the use of disposable masks and encourage people to wear reusable face masks, thereby protecting the environment.

The company claims that its latest ProShield technology will make disposable masks 99% efficient in the prevention of airborne viruses such as COVID-19 and other pathogens and harmful particles.

However, after testing its efficacy using a variety of fabric materials, it was found that the latest technology significantly enhances the efficacy of the fabric material to block pathogens by between 94% and 99.5%.

It uses Pathogen Capturing Technology (PCT) that contains microscopic “Velcro-like” structures that neutralise harmful pathogens. Moreover, PCT does not contain alcohol or other chemicals and is completely safe for use on the skin.

The biotech company had earlier launched a novel decontamination wipe called ABD Device, which can wipe out deadly pathogens like anthrax.

David Murphy, director of technology transfer and Innovation, at NUI Galway, said Aquila Bioscience developed the spray as part of its first product to “address the global need for protection against COVID-19 and other pathogens.”

Prof. Lokesh Joshi, founder of Aquila Bioscience, said: “With growing awareness of waste created by single use PPE and the toll it is taking on the environment, it is imperative that we develop innovative, environmentally conscious products that are safe to use and effectively protect users.

“People should be advised to wear reusable face masks and now we have a technology, inspired by nature, to improve protection from fabric/cotton masks by blocking up to 99pc of airborne pathogens,” Prof. Joshi added.

Barrier spray is not currently available in stores, but can be ordered via the company’s website at www.aquilabioscience.com.

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