COVID continues to be a problem, despite vaccination. Masks do reduce viral transmission. PPE is more effective than other masks but is still only 98% protective when worn and of course, provides no protection when not worn. FFP3 masks are even more effective than surgical masks. Outside its host cells, SARS-CoV2 is more vulnerable, even to substances (antivirals) harmless to man, such as fucoidan (brown seaweed), liquorice and menthol.

The eScent team are working with ENT/Allergy advisors Dr Glenis Scadding (Royal ENT Hospital / UCLH) and Prof Pete Smith (Queensland Allergy Service, Australia) to look at how we can enhance protection of our NHS staff - we suggest a combination approach: the use of an FFP3 mask plus automated intermittent use (via eScent) of a nasal antiviral spray at donning and doffing. This would provide continued protection during staff meal breaks, should stop virus colonisation of the nasal passages, and reduce viral transmission to others. In addition, the mask is reusable, reducing the vast amounts of waste currently being generated which is devastating ecosystems and polluting oceans.

eScent is a revolutionary transformative technology that could change the face of FFP3 masks and the utility of antiviral properties in real-life scenarios. Protected by six patents and funded by an InnovateUK "Sustainable Innovation Fund" Award, eScent is a wearable nebuliser that offers "personal protection assurance" via a patented liquid delivery system to help combat viruses.

Fucoidan - large brown seaweed kelps, Tasmania
Photo courtesy of Marinova, Tasmania