Pune-based start-up developes 3D-printed Masks Coated with Anti-Viral Agents
22 June 2021: More effective than N-95, 3-ply and cloth masks. An integration of 3D printing and pharmaceuticals has resulted in a novel type of mask which attacks the virus when viral particles come in contact with it. Developed by Pune-based start-up firm Thincr Technologies India (P) Ltd., these masks are coated with anti-viral agents known otherwise as virucides. The virucidal mask project is among the earliest projects to have been selected for commercialization, by Technology Development Board (TDB), a statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, as part of the Government’s fight against COVID-19.
The project received financial support from TDB as part of its search for novel solutions to fight COVID-19, in May 2020. Following this, an agreement was signed on 8th July, 2020 for developing the masks. The 2016-incorporated firm claims that these cost-effective masks are more effective in checking the spread of COVID-19, in comparison with ordinary N-95, 3-ply and cloth masks.
Thincr Technologies India works in development of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D-printers to discover new pharmaceutical formulations and drug-loaded filaments of different drugs. Founder Director Dr. Shitalkumar Zambad explains “We started thinking of the problem and possible solutions, during the initial days of the pandemic. We sensed that use of face masks will become nearly universal as the most important tool to prevent infection. But we realized that most masks which were then available and within the reach of common people were homemade and of relatively low quality. It is this need for high-quality masks which led us to undertake a project to develop and commercialize cost-effective and more efficient virucidal coated masks, as a better approach to reduce the spread of infection”.
Thincr Technologies India (P) Ltd. has applied for a patent for this product. Commercial scale manufacturing has also started, informs Dr. Zambad. Meanwhile, 6,000 virucidal masks have been distributed by an NGO to four Government Hospitals in Nandurbar, Nashik and Bengaluru, for use by healthcare workers and also to a girls’ school and college in Bengaluru.