Anti-Viral Facial Masks


Testing of the anti-viral activity of an exemplary mask against a human coronavirus (HCoV229E) similar to the one causing COVID-19. Note that small bars are better than big ones.  See text for more details. pfu=plaque forming unità indicating the quantity of viruses; “+ 5min” indicates that masks were washed for 5 min.


Invention Summary:  


The SARS-COV2 pandemic has created a strong demand for protective face masks. While the demand for masks has ups and down related to the severity of the pandemic, there is always a need for effective anti-viral protective masks for immunocompromised individuals and first-line health care professionals. The current polypropylene masks provide a physical barrier that is only partially effective in trapping active virus particles within a mesh of polymer fibers.


Rutgers researchers developed a self-decontaminating surgical mask that can improve the protection offered by not just trapping virus particles, but by deactivating them. This was demonstrated by the results shown above: When an untreated “control” mask was exposed to live virus, a large number of live viruses survived on the mask. When the mask was treated with SDS, an industrial detergent, the virus was deactivated.  But SDS is toxic and rapidly removed by moisture. In contrast, when the mask was coated with the Rutgers University agent (RU agent), virus was rapidly killed, and the non-toxic RU agent was not removed by moisture. These initial efficacy tests are very promising. Such masks are more effective and safer, can be disposed of without danger of spreading the disease, and can be worn longer and reused, thereby reducing non-degradable plastic waste.

The researchers have used natural and synthetic non-woven fibrous materials as the substrate. They have worked on ways how to incorporate the RU agent into the manufacturing process of commercial masks.  The RU agent is expected to be active against most respiratory viruses and could be a “game-changer”.   


  • Biocompatible and biodegradable.
  • Kills various pathogens including SARS-COV2.
  • Safe, non-irritable to human skin.
  • Economical advantageous and easy to incorporate in other filter based technologies.

 Market Applications:  

  • Health care systems for protection against viral air-borne infections.
  • Personal protection.
  • Air filtration device manufacturing.

Intellectual Property & Development Status: Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration. 


Patent Information:
Fred Banti
Associate Director, Life Sciences
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Polymers & Composites