The pandemic has changed the meaning of the word face masks for all of us. Earlier, face masks meant using a beauty-enhancing, relaxing layer on your face, but now COVID face masks have just come to mean something that’s crucial for your protection and safety.

As the pandemic Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was searing through the world, governments across the world have kept up with the recommendations of WHO and CDC to keep the virus at bay. Citizens have been advised to wear non-medical face masks at all times that would be effective in barring the spread even if you were asymptomatically infected. While the N95 and surgical-grade masks are best reserved for the medical fraternity, others have had to step up to accommodate a non-negotiable new accessory on their faces.

It’s marvelous to see a surge of new design innovations in such a short time for this rather unusual accessory. From DIY masks to the use of masks that match your outfits, there has been no dearth in efforts to make this accessory the next cool thing.

These are great, but keeping up the primary purpose of the mask requires frequent washing, leaving the masks looking ragged and compromised due to undue stretching of the fabric, and exponentially increasing the cost of masks for a family.

To balance the rigor of the recommended CDC guidelines and the comfort of mask-wearers, a small group of people teamed up with the top bioscience experts in India and abroad to develop a solution that would not only accomplish preventing contact with infected virus particles but also kill them effectively – should they land on your mask, without the need for washing.

The Make-In-India COVID Face Mask: Collaboration & Research

IMPRES, a company that helps Bioscience entrepreneurs drastically compress the innovation and go-to-market cycles of bioscience companies, has been hard at work for months with an eclectic team, developing and testing protocols to kill viruses on textile masks as soon as they come in contact with the cloth mask.

IMPRES brought together researchers from IISC and Mynvax to test on the H1N1 virus and experts from the University of Southern Florida to test on RSV. Their efforts attracted attention and support from the office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India and the Secretary Department of Bio-Tech, further extending their reach to the Rajiv Gandhi Centre of Biotech (RGCB) in Trivandrum.  The outstanding group of scientists tested for efficacy of the cloth masks for anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties independently, supplying test results to refine and improve their research at every cycle.

The team tested the textile masks on COVID-19 clinical isolates until they had clear proof of killing the dreaded virus on contact. The team also has a coveted SITRA certification to ensure that the masks adhere to the highest possible consumer standards. The success of the product is a testimony to the efforts and collaboration of the larger scientific community in India to bring a need-of-the-hour product to market, even under the tremendous constraints of the lockdown.

The Infection Shield(Shield) COVID Face Mask

The end product is a super-comfy, breathable mask that obviates the need for washing with detergents after every wear. The Infection Shield Mask comes with 6 layers of cloth, with 4 layers fused to form a composite inner layer. The 2 outer layers on each side are activated with their patented molecule- the essential technology that kills the COVID-19 Virus.

The masks come in a range of size options depending on the size of the head. They also offer two shapes depending on the predominant shape of your face- square and round. The outer material is organic soft cotton that makes it super-breathable and the adjustable bungees on the sides help us tighten or loosen for a snug fit!

Also Read: The Impact of the Corona Virus Pandemic on Schools Closures and Student Learning.

The masks are effective over multiple uses, and can last for a whole 30 weeks( that more than half the year!!!) even when washed once a week. Priced at INR 199, it comes down to less than INR 1 as the cost of ownership per day!

Pay It Forward

IShield Face maskWhile this COVID face mask is absolutely great for everyone, the team is trying hard to reach people who can’t afford to easily distance socially- in short, the ones who are likely to be hit the hardest. One of the critical objectives of this small, brilliant team is to keep the costs low and bring it to the masses, by looking to collaborate with organizations and NGOs that would collaborate for the distribution of the masks.

The team is also in talks with the Government of India for the mass production of the masks, the demographic that cannot afford to wash or change masks regularly are set to be benefited immensely. The mass production of the masks shows promise to bring down the costs of the masks further.

Your purchase will help fulfill that objective. You will be helping another while making the smartest safety decision for your family as well!

You can avail of a 10% discount on the facemasks by using the code KIDSKINTHA.

Also Read: Prioritizing 21st Century Skills For Students In The Post-COVID Classroom

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels