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Even after all the advancements of science and technology, there are still 748 million people around the world who don’t have access to clean drinking water. Unavailability of clean drinking water is responsible for the majority of water-borne diseases (influenza etc.) and is considered on of the biggest cause of mortality around the globe. Thanks to an ingenious invention of a new sheet of paper which is capable of filtering out even the smallest viruses, more people around the world can have access to clean, drinkable water.
The sheet in question is created by the researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden by combining several layers of cellulose nano-fibers. These nano-fibers are extremely thin and have been developed from green algae. ‘Mille-feuille’ or ‘thousands leaves’ is the name that has been given to this filter. That’s not all: it could also be used in the world of medicine to produce vaccines and therapeutic proteins.
Filtration is considered the simplest and the cheapest method to purify water. But the trouble with filtration is that it is very difficult to filter out the r viruses because they are extremely small in size and can slip right through the pores of an ordinary filter paper (Think of a filter paper made of cellulose – the same material that’s used for teabags). Advanced filtration techniques exist but they can be quite expensive. That is why this “Mille-feuille” filter paper is such a big deal because its pores are so small that even viruses can’t pass through.
“In order to fight the spread of water-borne diseases, efficient filtration methods are needed which can be relied on. We have set our sights on developing a filter paper that can take care of all the impurities especially viruses so that millions can have access to drinkable water.” — Albert Mihranyan, lead researcher.
There is no doubting the fact that this is indeed great news for everyone. Hopefully, this potential life-saving filter paper will be brought to the market sooner rather than later.
This research has been published in Materials Horizons.