Researchers have created a textile material that can “repel” pathogens

This material could lead to the production of more effective protective materials.

For the medical staff that treats different patients, the protective materials they use, masks, gowns, etc., prove to be extremely important for the safe continuation of their activity. However, studies show that textiles used for this protective equipment can absorb and spread various pathogens. To limit this risk, engineers at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, have created a textile material that “repels” liquids such as blood or saliva and can even prevent bacteria and viruses from settling on its fibers. Phys.

“Recently, researchers have focused on water-repellent surfaces (which have a low wetting capacity) and we were interested in doing this with mechanical durability. […] We want to push the boundaries of what is possible with these types of surfaces and, especially given the current pandemic, we knew it would be important to be tested for viruses, “said Anthony Galante, a doctoral student at the University and lead author of the study. .

“What makes the coating unique is its ability to withstand ultrasonic washing and scraping. With other similar coatings currently used, washing or rubbing the surface of textiles will reduce or eliminate its repellent abilities, ”says the author.

Another important aspect that scientists have taken into account is the durability of the material created: “Durability is very important, because there are other surface treatments, but they are limited to disposable materials. You can use a robe or mask only once before throwing it away. […] Given the lack of protective materials, there is a need for treatments that can be applied to reusable medical materials to be washed and sanitized properly, ”explains Paul Leu, a professor of industrial engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.

After proving the effectiveness of this new type of textile in the face of liquids such as saliva or blood, the researchers turned to Eric Romanowski, director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Microbiology Laboratory, to determine if it can repel viruses. “Since studies have shown that this material repels blood, proteins and bacteria, the next logical step was to determine whether it repels viruses. We chose human adenovirus types 4 and 7, because they are the causes of acute respiratory diseases, as well as conjunctivitis “, he explains. “We hoped that the tissue would repel these viruses in a similar way to how it repels proteins, which turn out to be essentially nucleic acid proteins inside. As we have shown, adenoviruses have been rejected in a similar way to proteins. “

The study was published in: ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

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