A team of researchers based in Spain have developed an innovative face shield that effectively deactivates SARS-CoV-2 and multi-resistant bacteria.
The groundbreaking face shield technology has been pioneered by scientists from the Biomaterials and Bioengineering Laboratory from the San Alberto Magno Translational Research Centre (CITSAM) of the Catholic University of Valencia (UCV).
The novel technology provides an affordable solution to the paramount issue of infection control, destroying SARS-CoV-2 and multi-resistant bacteria in under 60 seconds. In addition, the researchers reveal that the new face shield technology can also be employed in a range of applications, such as helmets, glasses, plastic masks, or screens used in cars or counters.
The team’s research findings are published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
Issues with previous Technology
Until now, iterations of the face shield that have become commonplace during the COVID-19 pandemic have not provided complete protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Although the transparent materials used in them protect against microbial and bacterial infections caused by viruses or bacteria, including multi-resistant strains, they are comprised of components that do not have antimicrobial activity, meaning they only prevent direct contact between the user and the biological event.
This means that a healthy person can easily become infected if they come into contact with any of the contaminated areas of these materials, making these face shields a growing source of infectious biological remnants.
Ángel Serrano, the principal researcher of the study from the Catholic University of Valencia, said: “Infected people who use these protective tools can easily transmit microbial infections, as these tools do not deactivate the microbial load generated through breathing, sneezing, or coughing. Bacterial infections whose resistance to antibiotics is growing are contributing to the worsening of severe pneumonia linked to SARS-CoV-2 infections.”
Innovating face shield design
To combat this issue, the team of UVC researchers designed and manufactured a transparent face shield with inherent antimicrobial properties that protect the user and eliminate infectious waste.
Serrano said: “This is the first transparent face shield material capable of deactivating severe enveloped viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 in under a minute after coming into contact with the surface, as well as deactivating the golden staphylococcus bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus) and Staphylococcus epidermis, both of which are resistant to meticillin (antibiotic).”
The team’s state-of-the-art face shield material consists of polyethene terephthalate that has a micrometric antimicrobial coating of benzalkonium chloride. In addition to providing robust protection against SARS-CoV-2 and multi-resistant bacteria, the material is also affordable to manufacture, making it an ideal weapon for battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Serrano commented: “The material can protect healthcare workers from infections caused by multi-resistant microorganisms such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria, both in developed and developing countries.”