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Virus-killing clothing challenge

A project by a team at the University of Alberta in Canada is tackling the challenge of how to produce self-decontaminating fabrics in large quantities for protective clothing manufacturers. These manufacturers will then use these fabrics to make garments that kill bacteria.

When N-halamine compounds are grafted onto textiles, they kill bacteria and viruses. The researchers at the University of Alberta have received nearly $1 million to find ways to scale up production of these textiles at a reasonable cost.
The lead researcher on the project, textile scientist Patricia Dolez, explained its aim: 

“We want to take the technology from the lab and scale it up so that it is efficient and compatible with industry-level manufacturing processes, which is a very big step.”

If the researchers are successful, protective clothing made from the fabric could be used by hospital workers and first responders to protect them from the transmission of viruses. 
After wearing these virus-killing garments, they need to be recharged so that they can be used again. This is done by dipping the clothing in chlorine-containing solutions such as bleach. For soldiers and other workers in remote environments, the researchers are looking at ways to make this process more efficient and convenient. The ideal system is lightweight, does not require water or washing machines and lasts a long time so that clothing can be worn for longer periods between treatments. 

The technology could also be applied to face masks for extra protection during any pandemics if any occur in the future.


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