02 Dec, 2020
JERUSALEM WEATHER

In an early stage of panic over COVID-19, toilet paper was – for some reason – one of the most treasured and hoarded products in supermarkets. But 

A research group from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, the Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art in Ramat Gan and the Defense Ministry have made a remarkable discovery: Tissue paper and toilet paper kill the coronavirus virus quickly, within 30 minutes. As a result, they have developed a unique multi-purpose face mask with a tissue/toilet paper insert and proven their claims in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet Microbe.  

It is headed by Prof. Oded Shoseyov of the Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture department at the Hebrew University’s Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment  is an internationally known biotechnology expert who has over 60 patents. He is also an entrepreneur who founded 14 companies, including Collagen (which uses plant-based technology to produce recombinant collagen that is identical to the collagen produced by the human body) and another that prints 3D meat substitutes. 

Because of the pandemic, Shoseyov turned his attention to ways of killing the COVID-19 viruses. His team includes physicists, chemists, biologists whose research on natural fibers led to the design at Shenkar of a multi-use cloth face mask with an insert of tissue/toilet paper. It was found to be as effective for the public as masks such as N95.

Surprisingly, his team discovered that the virus can survive on ordinary surgical masks for about seven days and on plastic, money and other surfaces for even longer. The microbe survives on a cotton masks for 24 hours but for one with a tissue/toilet paper insert, only half an hour.

“The team hypothesized that because the tissue/toilet paper absorbs very well, it dries the droplets and causes the virus to die quickly. “These findings are significant because most of us sometimes go outside for at least two hours outside the home, whether it’s for shopping at the supermarket or going to work,” noted the professor. “We’d be better off with a mask that would kill the virus in half an hour. We are trying to improve the mask by adding household materials that have a strong antiviral capacity and can be used to impregnate the middle layer of the mask to enhance and optimize mask protection and make it water repellent.”