Cyclodextrin-impregnated masks to prevent the transmission of coronavirus

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CycloLab’s submission to InnoCentive Challenge 9934291 – New Technologies to Prevent the Transmission of Coronavirus led to a favorable evaluation.

CycloLab’s proposal aimed at new technology to improve mask performance against novel viruses such as SARS, MERS and COVID-19 by using cyclodextrin.

The concept is a virus-targeting technology: impregnating the masks with a proper cyclodextrin having lipid-chelator properties which upon contact will remove the lipids, especially cholesterol from the viral envelope thus reducing its infectivity. So, when the droplets carrying the virus become small enough to get through the pores of the mask they are not able to infect the patient any more. Also the airborne particles will interact with the cyclodextrin on the mask while flying through the pores and this will change the lipid composition of the virus particles that become no longer infectious.

The proposed virus targeting technology –modifying the masks by cyclodextrins using physical attachment– has the following advantages:

  • In addition to filtering it gives a further functionality to the mask: reducing infectivity of the virus.
  • It is specific to enveloped viruses, thus any virus having a lipid envelope such as SARS, MERS and COVID-19 can be disabled as the mechanism is based on removal of lipid components, especially cholesterol necessary for virus infection.
  • The filtering performance of the mask will be not affected.
  • No aesthetic alterations of the mask design are necessary.
  • Not harmful for the user as cyclodextrins are non-toxic and no other toxic substances are used.
  • Economic, simple process. The spraying of the mask can be done by the user. It is recommended to apply a fresh spraying before application. The old layer (particles of dust, disabled viruses and cyclodextrin) can be removed by simple washing.
  • The proposed technology is not patent protected, no need of licensing.
  • The proposed cyclodextrins are commercially available, produced on industrial scale (thousand tons per year) for other applications.


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