Is this a cooler, better, more breathable mask to fight COVID-19?

Judit Puskas poses at her desk, wearing her new mask

It just might be possible for a coronavirus mask to be cool, comfortable, effective, and easy to breathe through, and CFAES researcher Judit Puskas, working together with the Mayo Clinic, is well on the way to providing one. 

Puskas, who is a CFAES Distinguished Professor of Polymer Science in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, is in the final stages of developing a mask that is made from a flexible, breathable rubber. She thinks the new mask will work better in fighting the spread of COVID-19—including, for example, in the trying conditions of hot, humid meat packing plants. A provisional patent application is pending.

Puskas has previously developed polymers used in cardiovascular stents that have treated more than 6 million patients. 

“It’s a very good feeling,” she says, “when you do research and it ends up saving people’s lives.”

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