The Respirone Nano AV99 is the first face mask entirely designed and produced locally. A team of specialists from the University of Peradeniya, overseen by Professor R.M.G. Rajapakse, Senior Professor of the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, was able to develop this face mask.

Professor R. M. G. Rajapakse holds a B.Sc. Special degree in Chemistry from University of Peradeniya and Ph.D. and D.I.C from Imperial College of Science, London. He is a Senior Professor in Chemistry and also the Coordinator of the M.Sc. programme in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. He is a fellow member of National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka (FNASSL).

The mask has been designed with three layers of protection. It is environmentally-friendly, biodegradable and reusable as much as possible without losing the properties. The outer layer cotton fabric was modified to possess superhydrophobicity to ensure that it would repel any aerosol particles containing the virus. The middle layer of the mask is also made of cotton. The pores are blocked using microparticles which are the same size as the fabric’s pores to ensure no particles such as the SARS CoV-2 penetrates. But it allows molecules in the air to flow in for breathability. The particles which have been used have a positively charged surface so that they attract the negatively charged viral envelope and bind electrostatically on their surface. The star-shaped nanoparticles present throughout the surface of this layer are able to cut the spike proteins and the viral envelope thus deactivating the virus. The innermost layer is made up of hydrophilic cotton providing maximum comfort to the wearer. The mask is suitable for repeated usage and can be washed around 25 times without losing its properties.

Manufacture of the mask is also being handled locally by Sarasavi Industries Pvt. Ltd. The reusable mask is now available at the State Trading (General) Corporation and Sathosa outlets.