Science

Pune start-up ThinCr develops 3D-printed masks with antiviral properties

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 14, 2021

ThinCr masks

Firm claims that these masks are more effective in checking the spread of Covid-19 as compared to ordinary N-95

Pune-based startup ThinCr Technologies has 3D-printed face masks impregnated with anti-viral agents called viricides that kill viruses when they come in contact with them inside the mask.

The viricidal mask project was one the earliest projects supported by the Technology Development Board (TDB) for commercialisation soon after the pandemic hit the country last year, an official statement said on Monday.

ThinCr, which received financial support from TDB signed an agreement with the funding agency for producing these masks in July last year. The firm claimed that these cost-effective masks are more effective in checking the spread of Covid-19, as compared to ordinary N-95, 3-ply and cloth masks.

Thincr Technologies specialising in developing Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D-printers which helps discover new pharmaceutical formulations and drug-loaded filaments of different drugs.

Also read:Parisodhana Technologies develops a washable hybrid multiply face mask

“We started thinking of the problem and possible solutions, during the initial days of the pandemic. We sensed that use of face masks will become nearly universal as the most important tool to prevent infection. But we realised that most masks which were then available and within the reach of common people were homemade and of relatively low quality. It is this need for high-quality masks which led us to undertake a project,” said ThinCr Founder Director Shitalkumar Zambad.

Subsequently, Thincr with the help of Merck Life Sciences began to focus on developing virucidal coating formulations. The coating formulation was subsequently used to coat the fabric layer and the 3D printing principle was employed to achieve uniformity of coating. The coated layer can be incorporated as an additional layer in N-95 masks, 3-Ply masks, simple cloth masks, 3D printed or other plastic cover masks, along with reusable filters. These masks thus provide an additional protection beyond the protection achieved by filtration mechanisms, the statement said.

Also read: Why do some people get side effects after Covid-19 vaccines?

The coating is seen to inactivate the SARS-COV-2 virus. The material used for coating on the mask is a solution based on sodium olefin sulphonate. It is a soap forming agent with hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties. In contact with enveloped viruses, it disrupts the outer membrane of the virus. The ingredients used are found to be stable at room temperature and are widely used in cosmetics, Zambad said.

“In this project, for the first time, we used 3D-printers to make multilayer cloth filters to precisely fit for plastic-moulded or 3D-printed mask covers,” he said adding that the firm has applied for a patent for this product.

ThinCr which already commenced commercial scale manufacturing has already distributed 6,000 virucidal masks to four government hospitals in Nandurbar, Nashik and Bengaluru as well as a girls’ school and college in Bengaluru through an NGO.

Published on June 14, 2021

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