COVID-19Our solution could solve the global mask shortage rapidly at a very low cost
URGENT UPDATE (21st of May 2020): CHROMATOGENY TREATED PAPER SUCCESSFULLY PASSED THE ASTM 1862 TEST FOR BLOOD/LIQUID PENETRATION, CONFIRMING ITS POTENTIAL FOR MEDICAL APPLICATIONS.
The chronic, global shortage of personal protective equipment is one of the most urgent threats to our collective ability to save lives.
It is now the global consensus that everybody should wear face masks to slow down and stop the spread of this virus.
This is not only a concern in countries in Europe or in North America but also in the developing world as the more it spreads, the higher the risk of mutations and of an ineffective vaccine.
However, there is a massive shortage not only for the general population but for health care professionals. Our technology aims to solve this in a short period of time.
There are two large issues we need to face in order to tackle this mask shortage.
The first issue is the availability of the meltblwon fabric. Expanding production capacity is very costly and long (at least 6 months). Therefore a new material is needed.
The second issue is the manufacturing capacity that is insufficient as it’s already running above 100%. This makes the DIY solution the only one viable for the massive adoption of masks. Unfortunately, cloth masks offer very little protection even if they are better than nothing (see table below)
Paper products have long been considering for mask making as they are widely available, low priced and environment friendly and known for their filtering properties. Their use in medical mask confection has however been hampered by their hydrophilicity. An aqueous droplet loaded with virus particles deposited on one side of a conventional hydrophilic paper sheet is submitted to strong capillary forces, which then carry the virus particles to the other side of the sheet.
We believe chromatogeny is the solution (patent pending). Chromatogeny allows hydrophilic cellulose- based materials (such as paper) to be rendered permanently strongly hydrophobic (i.e.: water-proof) though their chemical reaction with long chain fatty acid chlorides.
Not only is this material able to stop contaminated droplets, it also keeps an impressive breathability.
CENTS/UNIT (estimated total cost)
Industrial feasibility of the chromatogeny process has already been demonstrated both in France and in South Korea where facilities could be tapped to start production very early on. Using it at a global scale could be very easily done within a short period of time (see our white paper).
THE IDEA IS SIMPLE: TREAT BILLIONS OF FACIAL TISSUES TO PROVIDE THE BEST POSSIBLE AND MOST AFFORDABLE MATERIAL FOR DIY FACE MASKS.
The production capacity of paper and facial tissues is more than large enough to cover global needs. Around 25 billion face tissues are produced in the world every single day. Stearic acid chloride, one chemical reagent used in the chromatogeny reaction, is currently commercially available in thousand of tons amounts. The use of simple elastics and staples is then all what is necessary to make a comfortable and efficient face mask.
Here is a brief table comparing the characteristics of different mask types. It is important to keep in mind that our material is flexible: we can play on the paper weight and the number of layers to optimize the breathability/filtration tradeoff.
If you would like more information, please download our white paper.