A team from the University of Alberta in Canada is attempting to use the chemical that disinfects swimming pools to create fabrics and textiles that can kill viruses — including the coronavirus — upon contact.

To develop the self-decontaminating fabric for medical gowns and masks worn by medical and frontline workers, the team is attempting to turn the light sensitive compound used to disinfect pools into a light-resistant compound that can be used to treat fabrics.

In the lab, the researchers reportedly managed to successfully apply the compound to fabric, demonstrating that it was effective against bacteria and viruses and that it can be washed and reused — both of which are critical in an era where personal protective equipment (PPE) is in high demand but short supply.

The University of Alberta team believes that once developed, the compound incorporated onto fabric will reduce the potential of cross contamination, wherein healthcare workers transfer viruses from their medical gear to patients and others they come into contact with.

According to researchers, the compound could disrupt the potential for cross-contamination because the virus or bacteria is destroyed as soon as it touches the fabric. As such, those wearing treated fabrics like masks could touch their mask without spreading or contamination fears.

The team intends to continue testing the treated fabrics in the lab.

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