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COVID-19 study: Stirling experts to analyse new face mask

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Experts at the University of Stirling are set to test a prototype facemask that could help prevent the spread of COVID-19, as part of a new study.

Scientists from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport are working on the project, which includes fabric architecture firm tensARC – creators of the ‘Face Gaiter’ product – and the University of the West of Scotland (UWS). Dr Angus Hunter and Dr Colin Moran will assess user comfort and safety – specifically the mask’s filter effects on breathing efficiency at different intensities of activity.

Angus Hunter
We are delighted to be part of this new project and hope our work can help in the battle against the spread of the virus.
Dr Angus Hunter Reader in Sport

Dr Hunter said: “We are delighted to be part of this new project and hope our work can help in the battle against the spread of the virus. We will use gas analysers to test the mask’s filter effects to understand how it impacts upon breathing efficiency.”

The new project – supported by the Scottish Funding Council – comes just days after the UK and Scottish Governments indicated that there may be benefits in wearing face coverings.

Stirling-based tensArc specialises in the design of tensile fabric structures, however, has recently turned its attention to creating face coverings for use by members of the public, particularly in work environments where social distancing is more difficult. Scientists working from microbiology facilities at UWS will validate the masks' effectiveness in preventing transmission of the virus.


Professor Fiona Henriquez, Research Lead for the School of Health and Life Sciences at UWS, is an expert in infectious disease. She said: “We are proud to be able to contribute to finding solutions to prevent the spread of coronavirus and other pathogens.”

Paul Baglin, Director of tensARC, said: “To protect each other during an epidemic, the public needs an alternative to medical masks for work settings and when social distancing is not achievable. We have designed a fabric face covering that is fit-for-purpose and lets the wearer breathe normally with much less chance of infecting others. 

“Created specifically for source control within work environments, it’s an easy-to-wear, washable and effective face covering that can be part of a lockdown exit plan.”

The University of Stirling is leading 10 major projects investigating the impact of COVID-19 pandemic after receiving almost £500,000 in Scottish Government funding.

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