Self-cleaning mask kills virus, say scientists

Israeli researchers say they've invented a reusable face mask that can disinfect itself.

They claim it can kill viruses using low-level heat transmitted through a standard cell phone charger.

Yair Ein-Eli led the team of researchers at Technion University.

"So it's 10 watts and the temperature that we are getting here is 65 to 70 degrees (Celsius), more than enough to eliminate the virus."

The new mask has a USB port, and when it's plugged into a power source it heats up an inner layer of carbon fibers.

Researchers say the mask takes 30 minutes to eliminate virus traces when heated up.

The team also said the masks are safe for reuse.

"The medical world always was moving towards non reusable or disposable but when you have a crisis that you need five billion masks in 2020, in 2021 worldwide, five billion, you have to realise that this is not economic or environmentally friendly. Not at all. You have to make it reusable and friendly and this is our solution.

The researchers submitted a patent in the U.S. in late March and say they are in talks with the private sector to commercialise the product.

They said it will likely sell at a 1$ premium over the price of a typical disposable face mask.

Video Transcript

- Israeli researchers say they've invented a reusable face mask that can disinfect itself. They claim it can kill viruses using low level heat transmitted through a standard cell phone charger. Yair Ein-Eli led the team of researchers at Technion University.

YAIR EIN-ELI: It's 10 watts. And the temperature that we are getting here is 65 to 70 degrees, more than enough to eliminate the virus.

- The new mask has a USB port. And when it's plugged into a power source, it heats up an inner layer of carbon fibers. Researchers say the mask takes 30 minutes to eliminate virus traces when heated up. The team also said the masks are safe for reuse.

YAIR EIN-ELI: The medical world always was moving towards non-reusable or disposable. But when you have a crisis that you need 5 billion masks in 2020 and 2021 worldwide, 5 billions, you have to realize that this is not economic or environmentally friendly, not at all. You have to make it usable and friendly. And this is our solution.

- The researchers submitted a patent in the US in late March, and say they're in talks with the private sector to commercialize the product. They said it will likely sell at a $1 premium over the price of a typical disposable face mask.