South Korea's nose-only mask draws scepticism over its effectiveness against Covid-19

Oh nose.

Syahindah Ishak | February 11, 2022, 08:27 AM

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A South Korean company has created a nose-only Covid-19 mask which allows people to eat and drink, whilst having their nose covered.

It's called 'kosk'

According to Koreaboo, the nose mask is called 'kosk'. The name is derived from the Korean word 'ko' (nose) and the English word 'mask'.

The mask is selling for 9,800 won (S$11) for a box of 10 on American-South Korean e-commerce platform Coupang.

Users can fold up the mask to cover their nose when eating or drinking. The mask can then be unfolded to cover their mouths and nose after eating.

Image via Sokeel/Twitter.

Is it effective?

Although the mask has received a five-star rating online, many have questioned its efficacy.

Professor Catherine Bennett, chair in epidemiology within Australia's Deakin University’s Institute for Health Transformation, told 9News that the nose mask probably makes a "marginal difference".

She explained that even though the masks were a "strange idea", they would be "better than nothing". However, the wearer would still be vulnerable to getting infected via their uncovered mouth.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reported that the nose is the easiest way for the virus to enter a person's body, as suggested by some studies.

Not the first nose mask

The kosk is not the first nose mask that has been created in this pandemic.

In 2020, a doctor from the pneumology department in Shanghai's Zhongshan Hospital developed a similar mask prototype for health workers.

Researchers in Mexico also made a similar nose mask last year.

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Top images via Sokeel/Twitter.