20 Sep 2021
SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A inactivated by zinc-embedded nylon fabric
A paper published in ACS Applied Materials Interfaces details effectiveness, describes protocol for future testing
HOUSTON – September 20, 2021 – An international team of scientists and engineers from the University of Cambridge, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, ResInnova Labs and Ascend Performance Materials has found that a nylon fabric embedded with zinc ions successfully inactivated 99% of the viruses that cause COVID-19 and the common flu.
Face masks, protective clothing and filters are used to slow the spread of viruses. But poor-quality masks can harbor active viruses from infected wearers, posing a transmission risk.
“A major challenge is absorption and inactivation,” said Vikram Gopal, Ph.D., co-senior author and chief technology officer at Ascend Performance Materials. “Respiratory viral illnesses, such as COVID-19, and the flu, are transmitted through droplets and aerosols. Polypropylene, the material in commonly used disposable masks, is a hydrophobic plastic and does not absorb moisture. Instead, the viruses can sit on the surface of the mask, posing a transmission risk when the mask is handled.”
Cotton also has problems, Dr. Gopal said. “Cotton effectively absorbs moisture, but it doesn’t inactivate the virus – again, posing a transmission risk,” he said.
In the paper published in ACS Applied Materials Interfaces, the researchers described how a fabric made of nylon 6,6 embedded with active zinc ions absorbed virus-containing moisture droplets and effectively inactivated the particles. The fabric produced a 2-log, or 99%, reduction of virus particles in one hour.
The research team also was able to demonstrate that nylon with active zinc ions remains stable over time, keeping its virus-inactivating properties after 50 washes.
“The study shows how nylon textile fabric with zinc outperforms the widely used cotton and polypropylene materials at virus absorption and inactivation,” Dr. Gopal said.
The findings have significant implications for future development of PPE, Dr. Gopal said.
“Pathogen-free PPE does more than just cut down the risk of transmitting the virus,” Gopal said. “By making PPE washable and reusable, you reduce the need for single-use products, keeping hundreds of millions of masks out of landfills.”
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About Ascend Performance Materials
Ascend Performance Materials makes high-performance materials for everyday essentials and new technologies. Our focus is on improving quality of life and inspiring a better tomorrow through innovation. Based in Houston, Texas, and with regional offices in Shanghai, Brussels and Detroit, we are a fully integrated material solutions provider with nine global manufacturing facilities in the United States, Europe and China. Our 2,600-person global workforce makes the plastics, fabrics, fibers and chemicals used to make safer vehicles, cleaner energy, better medical devices, smarter appliances and longer-lasting apparel and consumer goods. We are committed to safety, sustainability and the success of our customers and our communities.
Learn more about Ascend at www.ascendmaterials.com.
About Acteev: acteev.com
Acteev technology embeds active zinc ions into the matrix of the polymer. Unlike topical finishes or coatings, the zinc ions don't flake away, providing long lasting functionality. Acteev Protect fabrics, filtration media and engineered plastics deliver breakthrough protection for face masks, apparel, upholstery, air filters, high-touch surfaces and more. Microbes can cause products to deteriorate, discolor and smell bad. But Acteev Protect’s patent-pending technology offers a permanent solution that guards against the growth of unwanted odor-causing bacteria, fungi and microbes.
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