BLOOMINGTON — Indiana University scientists say a type of fabric that generates electricity can kill the virus that causes COVID-19, according to their research. The finding could have significant implications for personal protective equipment.
The researchers say they’ve demonstrated for the first time that coronaviruses are killed when exposed to electroceutical fabric. The term electroceutical refers to a matrix of embedded microcell batteries that creates an electric field, according to an IU news release. This matrix generates a low level of electricity in the presence of moisture without the need for wires.
Coronaviruses rely on electrostatic interactions to be able to attach to their host and infect someone, according to the release. Their structure must remain stable in order to spread infection.
The researchers say coronaviruses are killed by exposure to the low-level electric field-generating fabric. This type of fabric is already used as an antimicrobial wound care dressing.
The findings were published through a pre-print in ChemRxiv. The term pre-print refers to preliminary reports on research that have not been peer-reviewed. ChemRxiv is an open-access pre-print archive for chemistry.
The researchers hope to receive approval through the FDA to use the fabric specifically for face masks in the fight against COVID-19.
Previously, the same researchers have reported antibacterial and antibiofilm effects in the management of infected wounds. Electroceutical dressing is FDA cleared and commercialized by Vomaris Inc., according to the release. It is made of polyester fabric printed with alternating circular metal dots of elemental silver and zinc metals that create moisture-activated microcell batteries.