The global pandemic of COVID-19 and emerging antimicrobial drug resistance highlights the need for sustainable technology that enables more preparedness and active control measures. It is thus important to have a reliable solution to avert the present situations as well as preserve nature for habitable life in the future. One time use of PPE kits is promoting the accumulation of nondegradable waste, which may pose an unforeseen challenge in the future. We have developed a biocompatible, biodegradable, and nonirritating nanoemulsion coating for textiles. The study focused on coating cotton fabric to functionalize it with broad spectrum antimicrobial, antibiofilm, and anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity. The nanoemulsion comprises spherical particles of chitosan, oleic acid, and eugenol that are cross-linked to fibers. The nanoemulsion caused complete destruction of pathogens even for the most rigid biofilms formed by drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Candida albicans on the surface of the coated fabric. The secondary coat with beeswax imparts super hydrophobicity and 20 wash cycle resistance and leads to enhanced barrier properties with superior particulate filtration, bacterial filtration, and viral penetration efficiency as compared to an N95 respirator. The coated fabric qualifies as per standard parameters like breathability, flammability, splash resistance, and filtration efficiency for submicrometer particles, bacteria, and viruses. The scaleup and bulk manufacturing of the coating technology on fabric masks complied with standards. The consumer feedback rated the coated mask with high scores in breathability and comfortability as compared to an N95. The strategy promises to provide a long-term sustainable model compared to single use masks and PPE that will remain a nondegradable burden on the ecosystem for years to come.
Keywords: anti-SARS-CoV-2; antimicrobial fabric; biodegradable; self-disinfecting mask; super hydrophobic; sustainable solution; wash resistant coating.