BOSTON — Researchers at the University of Massachusetts announced this week that they have created a germ-killing fabric that could help stop the spread of communicable diseases.

According to the university, preliminary studies have shown fabrics treated with the agent N-halamine to be effective against pathogens including E. coli, MRSA, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans.

Researchers are continuing to test the fabric to see how it performs against other pathogens, the university said.

A $417,000 grant from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health is supporting the work, which involves embedding N-Halamine into hospital scrubs and other garments worn by medical professionals and patients.

"Wearers can check the N-halamine level in the fabric with potassium iodine strips. If the test shows that the N-halamine on the fabric surface is used up, the fabric's germ-fighting ability can be renewed by rinsing it in a bleach solution," said UMass Lowell Chemistry Professor Yuyu Sun. "The recharging process can be repeated as needed throughout the entire service life of the garments."

Sun, of Acton, is leading the research with Nancy Goodyear, a Chelmsford resident who is associate professor of biomedical and nutritional sciences. 

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