DOST eyes producing water-repellent, antiviral textile fabric for face masks, protective apparels

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is eyeing to produce water-repellent, antiviral, and re-wearable textile fabric for face masks and protective apparels in response to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Proposed prototype of PROTex face mask (DOST-PTRI)

The DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) has launched the project that seeks to develop PROTex (Protective Re-engineered Occupational Technical Textiles) protective apparels using fabric from local fibers.

The project is titled “Community-Level Textile Raw Material Integration towards Self-sufficient Philippine Textiles Manufacturing of PROTex against COVID-19.”

“It targets to manufacture a water-repellent, antiviral, and re-wearable textile fabric for face masks and protective apparels in response to the new normal,” the DOST-PCAARRD said in a statement.

Jenneli E. Caya of the DOST-Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI) serves as the project leader.

The DOST-PCAARRD noted that the “PTRI will be collaborating with local weavers and fiber-producing communities from Apayao, Cavite, and Surigao del Sur using the fibers of Backcross Abaca with Native and Desirable Accessions to Lift Up the Abaca Industry (BANDALA) abaca, bamboo, and pineapple leaf for textile production.”

It said the project is in response to a call for sustainable and functional fabrics that will serve as protection for Filipinos against COVID.

“The final product is also expected to comply with Republic Act No. 9242 or the Philippine Tropical Fabric Law which requires the use of local tropical fibers for government wear of officials and employees,” the Council said.

The project is part of the Council’s Good Agri-Aqua Livelihood Initiatives towards National Goals or the GALING-PCAARRD Kontra COVID-19 Program which aims to alleviate the situation in COVID-19 affected communities around the country through technology-information sharing, food product distribution, and provision of food production technologies and livelihood opportunities derived from its various R&D projects.

An inception meeting was held to discuss the project. DOST-PTRI Chief Science Research Specialist Dr. Julius Leaño Jr., personnel of DOST-PTRI; and key officials and staff of the Crops Research Division (CRD) and the Office of the Executive Director for the Administration, Resource Management and Support Services (OED-ARMSS) of DOST-PCAARRD attended the meeting.