A startup firm based in Pune has developed a 3D printed mask that can not only block the coronavirus from infecting the wearer but it can also attack the virus when the viral particles come into its contact. The mask has a coating of antiviral virucides that destroys coronavirus. The 3D-printed mask has been tested and found to deactivate SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The coating can be applied to any kind of masks such as N-95, 2-ply and cloth-mask. The masks are one of the six technologies that were selected to be funded in May 2020 when the government was looking for solutions to fight the spread of Covid-19. The project was funded by the Technology Development Board, a central government body to promote indigenous technology. Thincr Technologies India Private Limited, the company that developed the masks, which works at an intersection of 3D printing and pharmaceuticals, took support from the Mumbai-based office of a multinational pharmaceutical company Merck Life Sciences and used their research facility.
The company developed the coating formula and applied it to coat the fabric layer. They used the 3D printing technique to ensure that coating was done in a uniform manner. The material that the company used for coating is a Sodium Olefin Sulfonate based mixture. When it comes to contact with the virus, it destroys the virus’ outer membrane, rendering it inactive.
According to Shitalkumar Zambad, who is the founder-director of Thincr Technologies, the masks have bacterial efficiency higher than 95%. “In this project, for the first time, we used 3D-printers to make multilayer cloth filters to precisely fit for plastic-moulded or 3D-printed mask covers,” Zambad said in a press release by the Ministry of Science and Technology
The company has applied for a patent and the masks are already in production. 6000 of such masks have been already distributed to healthcare workers in four government hospitals in Nandurbar, Nashik and Bengaluru. A girls’ school and college in Bengaluru are also among the early receivers of the newly developed masks.