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A mask that inactivates the virus

In March, Hospital Regional da Asa Norte in Brasília began clinical trials of a mask that contains a biocompatible compound capable of inactivating the novel coronavirus. Developed by a team led by biomedical engineer Suélia Fleury Rosa of the University of Brasília (UnB), the mask is an N95 model containing chitosan nanofibers, a polysaccharide extracted from the discarded shells of crustaceans. Cheap, nontoxic, and nonallergenic, the compound inactivated SARS-CoV-2 particles during tests in the laboratory of engineer Marcus Vinicius Lia Fook, from the Federal University of Campina Grande (UFCG). Funded by online donations, the clinical trial was registered with the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) and aims to evaluate the performance of the mask, which is named Vesta, on 60 health professionals caring for COVID-19 patients. “If approved by ANVISA, Vesta will be manufactured under a non-exclusive license,” says Rosa. “We want to make the technology available to all interested companies.”