Researchers develop face shields that deactivate SARS-CoV-2 and multi-resistant bacteria

The affordable technology created at the Biomaterials and Bioengineering Laboratory of the UCV can also be used in glasses, helmets, plastics masks or the screens used in cars and counters.New screen

The Biomaterials and Bioengineering Laboratory from the San Alberto Magno Translational Research Centre (CITSAM) of the Catholic University of Valencia (UCV), whose principal researcher is Ángel Serrano, has developed a face shield that deactivates SARS-CoV-2 and bacteria-resistant antibiotics in under a minute. The development has been published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

According to Serrano, the transparent materials used until now in face shields protected “against microbial and bacterial infections caused by viruses or bacteria, including multi-resistant strains”, but they are made “with components that do not have antimicrobial activity”, and only prevent direct contact between the person and the biological agent. This means that a healthy person can become infected “if they come into contact with the contaminated surfaces of these materials; these therefore become a growing source of infectious biological remnants”.

Thus, 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”, says Serrano, who also notes that bacterial infections “whose resistance to antibiotics is growing” contribute to worsening the severe pneumonia linked to SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Low-cost manufacturing

Taking this into account, the UCV researchers manufactured a transparent face shield with intrinsic antimicrobial activity that protects the person and prevents infectious waste. According to Serrano, “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 broad spectrum extra-protective compound material developed by the UCV laboratory can also be used to manufacture other facial protection tools such as “glasses, helmets, plastic masks and the screens used in cars and counters”.

Specifically, the material of this state-of-the-art protection tool is made out of polyethylene terephthalate, with a micrometric antimicrobial coating of benzalkonium chloride. It is affordable to manufacture, which is why this material would be “very useful” to tackle the current pandemic and “protect healthcare workers from infections caused by multi-resistant microorganisms such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria, both in developed and developing countries.”