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Healthline: For homemade masks, 3 layers better than 1

UC biologists found homemade silk masks repelled virus better than cotton or polyester

Healthline examined a University of Cincinnati study that found that silk face masks might be a better barrier to coronavirus than those made from polyester or cotton.

UC biologist Patrick Guerra, an assistant professor in UC's College of Arts and Sciences, and UC postdoctoral researcher Adam Parlin put face masks to the test in their biology lab. They found that silk masks were the best alternative to single-use N95 respirators.

Silk masks are comfortable, breathable and repel moisture, which is a desirable trait in fighting the virus.

The study was published in the preprint server MedRxIV.

“We’re trying to address this critical problem. Healthcare workers still don’t have enough personal protective equipment, namely N95 respirators or basic surgical masks,” Guerra said. “Cotton traps moisture like a sponge. But silk is breathable. It’s thinner than cotton and dries really fast.”

According to Healthline, masks made of multiple layers of material are far more effective than single-layer masks.

Read the full story.

Read more about the UC study in UC News.

Patrick Guerra holds up a mesh container holding monarch butterflies.

UC biologist Patrick Guerra studies the properties of silk produced by silkworms in his biology lab. Photo/Lisa Ventre/UC Creative + Brand

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