A Filipino technology is producing 500,000 washable face masks that can repel airborne coronavirus droplets.
The face mask, called “REwear Face Mask Made Smart”, is reusable and can be washed up to 50 times.
The good news was announced by Department of Science and Technology DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña on March 17, 2020. The face mask uses the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) textile-coating technology for treatment and finishing.
The material of the outer layer of REwear will undergo protective treatment that could repel airborne liquid droplets that may carry bacteria and viruses from cough and sneezes, preventing the microbes from penetrating the mask.
The process does not coat the whole fabric, but only coats the fibers and allows the mask to be breathable. This feature also allows the mask to be used multiple times, freeing up the shortage and need for more masks.
Evangeline Flor Manalang, head of the Technology Transfer, Information and Promotion Staff at the PTRI, told Good News Pilipinas that the fabric of the face mask can be an ordinary cloth with a composition of cellulosic material like cotton.
The face masks are currently in production at the Taytay factory of San Juan’s Power Fashion Inc. (PFI), with help from dyeing and finishing mill Saffron Philippines, Inc. and the Reliance Producers Cooperative which have been allowed by the local government unit to operate to produce the personal protective equipment (PPE) for donation to the Department of Health.
Manalang said the first batch of face masks will be released this coming week.
With the rising concerns about protection from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the shortage of available masks available in the market, Secretary de la Peña also announced several DOST initiatives to help in the fight against the disease.
Among the innovations supported by the DOST is the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH), Philippine Genome Center, and The Manila HealthTek Inc.’s GenAmplify COVID-19 rapid diagnostic kits good for 26,000 tests and additional quantities as would be needed by the Department of Health (DOH) and the National University of Singapore-Duke Center and Ateneo de Manila’s virgin coconut oil (VCO) research for the testing of Philippine VCO for anti-COVID19 virus properties.
SEND CHEERS to the DOST-PTRI and private sector initiative to produce 500,000 reusable face masks for our frontliners in the fight against COVID-19!
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