IU researcher develops fabric treatment that could kill COVID-19

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Researchers at Indiana University say they’ve developed a treatment for fabric that can kill the coronavirus on contact.

The treatment was first developed for bacteria infections, but the process is showing promise in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

As Dr. Chandan Sen holds a mask up to the camera, a series of dots imprinted into the fabric are revealed. The yellow or lighter dots are silver, and the darker ones are zinc.

When any bodily fluid comes into contact with the imprinted fabric, it emits an electrical charge. It’s harmless to humans, but the charge kills the virus that causes COVID-19.

“So our data is 100% that we are seeing under the conditions that we are seeing,” Sen said.

Sen cautioned that number is for the current coronavirus. He originally developed this fabric-imprinting method seven years ago for hard-to-treat bacterial infections. The process has received federal approval, and a bioelectrical company in Arizona is developing the process for commercial applications for the wound-care market and over-the-counter applications.

When the “stay at home” order was issued, Sen was asked to put his lab in hibernation. He went home but didn’t stop working. He developed a theory, assembled a small staff and worked around the clock for a month to prove his micro-battery-imprinted technology could be effective against the virus.

“And as we were doing that, what was amazing is a number of people in the community came in with philanthropic gifts, so the entire work was funded by philanthropy,” Sen said.

How quickly the electrical charge works depends on conditions.

“The time it takes to inactivate the virus can range from one minute to a couple of hours,” Sen said.

Sen believes this technology has almost unlimited potential.

“With everything that is going on, I want this to go out because I want other people much smarter than me that can take this principle and actually make it into productive solutions that can help people,” Sen said.

He released his findings before having it published in a professional journal.