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Could salt protect you from the COVID-19?

Face masks are unlikely to protect you from the current coronavirus outbreak. However a Canadian biomedical engineer has created a mask that he says could neutralise viruses like the coronavirus in 5 minutes.

The secret ingredient is salt.

How? The molecular structure of salt is crystalline, its hard, sharp corners can pierce viruses, rendering them unviable - but before you reach for the table salt, read on.

The Canadian research team have been testing salt-coated masks in the lab for the past few years, and found that they can inactivate three strains of the influenza virus. The team published those initial findings in the journal Scientific Reports in 2017.

These particular bring the masks won't make it to market for another next 18 months, and the salt they are using in the research is not plain old table salt, it's a well-kept secret.

How the salt-coated mask works. Viruses and other pathogens travel either through the air; in droplets such as saliva or phlegm from coughing, sneezing, speaking, or breathing; or on surfaces. The coronavirus-carrying droplets, expelled from coughing, sneezing, speaking or breathing, can stay on the surface of the masks which increases the chance of the contact transmission. But when a virus-carrying droplet encounters the masks in research, it begins to absorb the salt which slices through the virus, neutralising it. 

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