Nagpur: After successfully making a washable, reusable and affordable PPE kit that keeps users cool from inside with innovative use of khadi, the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS), Sevagram, has come up with a unique N95 mask made of cotton.
The makers have claimed that this mask offers protection from virus almost as good as the N95 surgical mask. It is way better than the single-layered use-and-throw masks available in the market and locally made triple-layered masks. The mask costs Rs50, is triple layered, and made with a special type of quilting cotton woven on machines in Sevagram.
On July 31, this mask successfully cleared all the tests conducted in the departments of anatomy and microbiology of MGIMS. The researchers have submitted a detailed paper on this innovation to various journals, including the European Journal of Respiratory Medicines.
“This innovative mask was created after discussion with end users of general purpose masks from the community as well as health care workers,” said Dr Rahul Narang, professor at department of microbiology.
“Firstly, people are not sure of the efficacy of the mask they are wearing. Secondly, the masks are either too big or too small. Thirdly, masks with elastic strings are likely to be manipulated to cover only the mouth or just the chin. Apart from this, we worked on reusability, price, role of face shield in the community, and decided to create cotton masks with some modifications,” he added.
“We believe that our innovation can be used in the community as well as in general areas of the hospital like offices, labs, etc and can be a better alternative to single use triple-layer surgical masks. Further testing may be done by other organizations to rule out bias in our study,” Dr Narang said.
Since the inner two layers are of locally woven cotton, they can be washed any number of time. The outer layer is of the impervious cloth used by MGIMS researchers to make their washable PPE Kit. This cloth is washable at least 40 times. This means the mask can be re-used after washing at least 40 times.
According to doctors who are using this mask at MGIMS, the design is very good and they did not find any breathing difficulty with half of the front layer being impervious.
Researchers who worked on this project are Priyanka Shahane-Kapse from department of microbiology, Dr MR Shende, professor & head, department of anatomy, Dr Sumit Kar, professor & head, department of dermatology, Dr Pradeep Deshmukh, professor & Head, department of community medicine, and Dr Dhiraj Bhandari, professor, department of anaesthesiology.
MGIMS cotton mask is triple layered
Inner two layers are of quilted cotton, equal to world class Kona cotton
Outer layer is of polypropylene coated with polyurethane
Microscopic structure of this mask is very close to the level of N95
Can be washed and re-used at least 40 times
Costs Rs50, mass production may reduce cost even further
At least 15 doctors/professors already using this at Sevagram