- Title: Silver lining? Russia's Cossacks don modified masks against coronavirus
- Date: 3rd April 2020
- Summary: KALININGRAD, RUSSIA (APRIL 1, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF COSSACKS PUTTING ON SILVER-ENHANCED MASKS COSSACK INSIGNIA ON UNIFORM VARIOUS OF COSSACKS DURING PATROLLING STREET DURING LOCKDOWN (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MEMBER OF COSSACK PATROL, DMITRY SAVCHENKO, SAYING: "Before that, people got protective gear wherever they could because unfortunately there is a shortage of masks now. Of course, we were glad to find out that BFU (Baltic Federal University) would supply us with protection, and not just a simple one but made with a modern technology." KALININGRAD, RUSSIA (MARCH 31, 2020) (REUTERS) SAMPLES OF SILVER-ENHANCED MASKS ON TABLE VARIOUS OF SCIENTIST EXAMINING MASK (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) IMMANUEL KANT BALTIC FEDERAL UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT, ALEKSANDER FYODOROV, SAYING: "We have all means. It is important for us that someone helps with raw materials, we do not ask money for anything. And first of all, we will supply the services which help us, we will supply the university employees as much as we could. We are just trying to do something good for people." VARIOUS OF MAGNETRON USED TO PRODUCE SILVER-IONIZED FABRIC VARIOUS OF SCIENTIST ATTACHING CABLES TUBES SCIENTISTS LOOKING INSIDE MAGNETRON CAVITY WHERE FABRIC IS PLACED FOR IONIZATION PART OF MAGNETRON (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DIRECTOR AT FUNCTIONAL NANO-MATERIALS' CENTRE, IMMANUEL KANT BALTIC FEDERAL UNIVERSITY, ALEKSANDER GOYHMAN, SAYING: "Our equipment was used for scientific research and commercial purposes. Because of the recent events, we remembered our project on surgical dressing and understood that it can also be used in masks. We were well aware of anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties of silver because we did the research on it in 2011-2012. Moreover, we were inspired by a publication by Novosibirsk scientists who proved the anti-viral properties of silver. Its anti-bacterial properties were already known, anti-viral properties were also know, but there were no researches. Now researches on it became public." SILVER TARGET IN MAGNETRON VARIOUS OF MAGNETRON CAVITY BEING CLOSED VARIOUS OF ROLLED FABRIC INSIDE MAGNETRON (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DIRECTOR AT FUNCTIONAL NANO-MATERIALS' CENTRE, IMMANUEL KANT BALTIC FEDERAL UNIVERSITY, ALEKSANDER GOYHMAN, SAYING: "Our method is at least cheaper because Novosibirsk colleagues use a method of chemical application with a large silver expenditure. I believe that for us the silver costs is not more than 1-1.5 percent from the prime cost of the mask. Silver does not contribute to the cost much. Large part of the cost goes for usage of equipment, and the biggest part is fabric and making a mask out of it. We do not produce masks ourselves. We only produce the fabric which can be used to produce masks." VARIOUS OF SCIENTIST FOLDING FABRIC (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DIRECTOR AT FUNCTIONAL NANO-MATERIALS' CENTRE, IMMANUEL KANT BALTIC FEDERAL UNIVERSITY, ALEKSANDER GOYHMAN, SAYING: "The mask is able to self-clean, if you stop wearing it for several hours all viruses and bacteria die and it you can continue wearing it." VARIOUS OF SCIENTIST LOOKING AT SILVERMASK SAMPLES (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DIRECTOR AT FUNCTIONAL NANO-MATERIALS' CENTRE, IMMANUEL KANT BALTIC FEDERAL UNIVERSITY, ALEKSANDER GOYHMAN, SAYING: "We can not say that the virus won't get through (the SilverMask). It will get through cotton or neoprene and any other fabric, it will be stopped by special masks with a high protection level. But in my view we slightly increased the efficiency of this accessory - and it is an accessory, not a medical device - because in our estimate the active silver surface can kill some amount of the virus which gets on in." VARIOUS OF SCIENTIST AT MICROSCOPE (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DIRECTOR AT FUNCTIONAL NANO-MATERIALS' CENTRE, IMMANUEL KANT BALTIC FEDERAL UNIVERSITY, ALEKSANDER GOYHMAN, SAYING: "I am wearing one of the first samples. We made it of neoprene and you can see my breath led to oxidation of silver. Which is not important - it will restore now. This is a silver-coated neoprene. Now we are producing them with cheap cotton. And the cotton is less prone to oxidation compared to neoprene and we believe that cotton is even more effective. The question is in quantity of layers and the quantity of layers is limited by the fabric and capacities of the tailor shops which would be ready to make it." VARIOUS OF SILVERMASK SAMPLE IN SCIENTIST'S HANDS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DIRECTOR AT FUNCTIONAL NANO-MATERIALS' CENTRE, IMMANUEL KANT BALTIC FEDERAL UNIVERSITY, ALEKSANDER GOYHMAN, SAYING: "As of today, all of those tailor shops in the region do not work. Secondly, everywhere we asked in the last days we were told there is no cotton left, only in colours and may be dark, but no light colours or white, may be just pink of purple and just some 10 meters left. Just ten masks with two layers require one meter of fabric. You can imagine how many kilometres of cloth we need if we want to provide for everyone in the region." VARIOUS OF MAGNETRON
- Keywords: COVID-19 SilverMask coronavirus innovative masks magnetron nano-masks protection gear protective masks silver particles
- Reuters ID: LVA001C7XTWSN
- Location: KALININGRAD, RUSSIA
- City: KALININGRAD, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Duration: 00:06:40
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Science
- Story Text: Cossacks and police officers enforcing the coronavirus lockdown in Russia's western city of Kaliningrad have donned modified face masks that local scientists say can be worn for days without being replaced.
The trick, they say, is to line the cheap cotton fabric of the masks with an ultra-thin coating of silver.
The World Health Organization does not generally recommend that healthy members of the broader population use masks and the benefits of the use of silver against the coronavirus have not been tested and are therefore unproven.
But Kaliningrad's Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University believes the technique could give the masks additional protective properties, although - like single-use masks - they still would not guarantee full protection from the virus.
The scientists started to use their research equipment to apply ultrathin silver coating on cheap cotton fabric using a method of magnethron sputtering. The scientsts say, their research has shown the modified fabric has anti-viral properties and masks made of it can self-clean on the go.
"In my view we're able to slightly increase the efficiency of this accessory - and it is an accessory, not a medical device - because we believe the active silver surface can kill some amount of the virus," Aleksander Goyhman, the director of the university's nano-materials center, said.
"The silver plasma is targeted (at fabric) and the energy is so high that it does not just hold on, but penetrates the fabric," said Goyhman.
Russia, which has reported 4,149 coronavirus cases and 34 deaths, has imposed a partial lockdown on many of its regions, including Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave in Europe that borders Poland and Lithuania.
Cossacks, a conservative Orthodox Christian people that help with some police functions in some of Russia's regions, have joined officers in Kaliningrad patrolling to make sure people stay at home.
"We were happy to learn the university would supply us with protection - and not just something simple but something made with modern technology," said Dmitry Savchenko who is part of a Cossack street patrol.
The university has already produced its first batch of the masks with the help of a local tailor shop, but they see looming challenges in expanding production - not least in finding enough cotton fabric and silver.
"Its important for us that someone helps with the raw materials. We're not asking for money for anything else. We're just trying to do something good for people," said the university's president, Alexander Fyodorov.
(Production: Maria Vasilyeva)
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