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PhD graduate develops sodium-coated mask that kills COVID-19 droplets

A recent Ph.D. graduate won an award Tuesday for creating a reusable facemask that appears to kill infectious pathogens like the coronavirus — using a simple coating of salt.

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Ilaria Rubino, who recently graduated from the University of Alberta, said salt can eradicate viruses and bacteria within five minutes of droplets landing on the face covering.

The highly breathable mask “provides a safe and effective solution to prevent diseases globally” — and can also be repeatedly worn, unlike the current ones used by healthcare professionals that need to be replaced regularly, according to research published in Scientific Reports.

Canadian non-profit research group Mitacs presented Rubino with an “Outstanding Innovation” award for her masks, which she told Yahoo Canada she hopes to get into production by next year.

The masks would also kill other infectious illnesses like the flu — and could eventually be used in filters in hospitals and office buildings, Rubino’s research said.

Dr. Catherine Clase, an epidemiologist and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, told The Canadian Press that the reusable covering would “decrease the footprint for making and distributing and then disposing of every mask.”

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