Aquila Bioscience, a medical technology company based at NUI Galway, has developed a groundbreaking new barrier spray making reusable masks up to 99 per cent effective at blocking airborne pathogens and particles.
ProShield has been developed to create a safe, nanofibre protective coating on material, an added defence against airborne pathogens.
Inspired by the development of its first product, the ABD Device, a novel decontamination wipe, Aquila Bioscience successfully applied its signature Pathogen Capturing Technology (PCT ) to ProShield, an environmentally conscious, alcohol free, safe spray.
PCT is inspired by nature and is based on glycoscience, the study of protein and carbohydrates. It contains microscopic Velcro-like structures specifically designed to bind and neutralise harmful pathogens.
“Timing is everything,” said David Murphy, director of technology transfer and innovation at NUI Galway. “Aquila Bioscience had developed the technology and now, in less than 12 months, they have developed a range of exciting products to address the global need for protection against Covid-19 and other pathogens. This remarkable journey is testimony to the expertise and dedication of the company, and the entrepreneurial environment at NUI Galway.”
Professor Lokesh Joshi, founder of Aquila Bioscience, said the innovation was also driven by the need to increase protection of reusable masks, to reduce dependence on disposable masks, and ultimately to protect the environment by reducing plastic waste.
“With growing awareness of waste created by single use PPE and the toll it is taking on the environment, it is imperative that we develop innovative, environmentally conscious, products that are safe to use and effectively protect users,” Professor Joshi said.
“Due to an exponential rise in the number of disposable masks used daily, there has been a huge surge in ocean pollution worldwide. Discarded plastic masks end up everywhere - roadsides, fields, lakes, rivers, and all the way to the oceans, getting tangled up in wildlife along the way. They can take hundreds of years to slowly degrade into microplastics which are then ingested by marine life.
“People should be advised to wear reusable face masks and now we have a technology, inspired by nature, to improve protection from fabric/cotton masks by blocking up to 99 per cent of airborne pathogens.”
The ProShield technology was tested for its efficacy using a variety of fabric materials and its ability to capture and block airborne pathogens. The results showed that ProShield dramatically improves the efficacy of the fabric material to block pathogens by between 94 per cent and 99.5 per cent.
ProShield is the second pilot product developed and released by Aquila Bioscience and is alcohol free, eco-friendly, and safe for all to use.