Scientists at NMIMS University, Mumbai, have developed a battery-operated reusable mask that offers protection from airborne human pathogens.While regular masks protect from aerogel and large dust particles, they do not protect against most human pathogens.On the contrary, the new mask is four-layered cotton with a metallic mesh, which acts as an electrical filter. During inhaling and exhaling, the pathogens coming in contact with the mask get neutralised instantly, ensuring complete protection to the user.The mask is reusable, self-sterilising, and environment-friendly. The battery lasts for more than six months, if used with proper care, and is replaceable. This mask replaces more than 240 regular masks reducing the environmental burden, and is thus eco-friendly."We have used a lithium button battery, which can be used and thrown away. It can last up to six to eight months," Neetin Desai, Dean of NMIMS' Sunandan Divatia School of Science in Mumbai, told IANS."Under laboratory conditions, when continuously used up to 72 hrs, the mask showed 99.9 per cent inhibition of bacterial and fungal growth," Desai added.The masks will be commercially rolled out and marketed by pharma company Milton Group from next week. It will be priced between Rs 800 to Rs 1,000, he noted.