Protective Face Masks: Current Status and Future Trends

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Sars-cov-2, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Face Mask, Antimicrobial Materials, Bio-derived Materials, Aerosol, Particle Filtration, Bacterial Filtration, Breathability

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Management of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has relied in part on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Face masks, as a representative example of PPE, have made a particularly significant contribution. However, most commonly used face masks are made of materials lacking inactivation properties against either SARS-CoV-2 or multidrug-resistant bacteria. Therefore, symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals wearing masks can still infect others due to viable microbial loads escaping from the masks. Moreover, microbial contact transmission can occur by touching the mask, and the discarded masks are an increasing source of contaminated biological waste and a serious environmental threat. For this reason, during the current pandemic, many researchers have worked to develop face masks made of advanced materials with intrinsic antimicrobial, self-cleaning, reusable, and/or biodegradable properties, thereby providing extra protection against pathogens in a sustainable manner. To overview this segment of the remarkable efforts against COVID-19, this review describes the different types of commercialized face masks, their main fabrication methods and treatments, and the progress achieved in face mask development.

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ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, v. 13, issue 48, p. 56725-56751