The project is led by Dr. Sandra Rodil , whose material was registered under the name SakCu . According to the report by Fernando Guzmán from the UNAM Gazette, ‘ Sak’ in Mayan means silver and ‘ Cu’ is the acronym for the element copper, metals both biocides. The antimicrobial mask created at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) can be washed 10 times and is sewn in a maquiladora.
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In fact I n STITUTE Materials Research UNAM supported by the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Mexico City, this cubrebocas “kill” the coronavirus thanks to the combination of materials.
Photo: UNAM Gazette
The SakCu antimicrobial mask is made of three layers . The external and internal ones are made of cotton and the middle one is made up of silver-copper nanolayers deposited in polypropylene, which can be washed up to 10 times without losing its biocidal properties. These metals were used for their proven antiviral, antibacterial, and even antifungal properties. As seen at the beginning of the pandemic (The New England Journal of Medicine 382; 16 (2020)), copper surfaces are the ones that most rapidly reduce the virus that causes the Covid 19 infection. When using a silver mixture -copper forming a nanolayer between 30 and 40 nanometers thick , offering double protection against viruses and bacteria.
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Silver and copper nanolayers
In collaboration with the Hospital Juárez de México , the UNAM team demonstrated that the silver and copper nanolayer inactivates the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Drops with the virus taken from Covid-19 positive patients were placed on the silver-copper film deposited in polypropylene and it was observed that, depending on the viral concentration, if the load was high in about 8 hours, more than 80% of the virus. If the viral load was low, within two hours none of the virus RNA was detected.
Upon contact with the silver-copper nanolayer, the SARS-CoV-2 membrane breaks and its RNA is damaged. In collaboration with the same hospital, the efficacy of silver-copper nanolayers was tested with a group of five bacteria of hospital origin, grouped under the acronym ESKAPE and causing hospital-acquired infections.
For now, the UNAM team has the capacity to produce at least 200 pieces of antimicrobial masks per day, which is why it was announced that they will soon be available for sale to the general public at the UNAM Store, right next to Metro CU. .