New antiviral technology supports reusable COVID-19 facemasks
25 Jun 2020
Researchers from Freie Universität Berlin and ITA RWTH Aachen, two of the most recognised academic institutions in virology and textiles, have confirmed the efficacy of a new self-disinfecting technology to permanently destroy the new coronavirus when applied to textiles or surfaces.
This revolutionary technology from the Swiss hygiene company Livinguard, has been applied in the first instance to the fabric incorporated in face masks, which have been brought to the UK and Ireland by OmniProtect. The technology applied can continuously inactivate exhaled viruses, including 99.9% of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), making it the most effective coronavirus killer technology known to date.
The scientific results follow on similar findings from The University of Arizona, Tucson and are especially relevant now as countries gradually ease lockdown restrictions and populations seek a return to work and settle into a ‘next normal’.
Face masks using this technology are already in use by law enforcement and frontline workers in Singapore, Japan, Germany and the United States, protecting those most vulnerable in the battle against COVID.
The OmniProtect mask is both reusable and washable (once weekly in cold water) and retains its virus destroying properties for 210 uses. At the equivalent of 14 pence per use, it provides safe and affordable protection for all.
"Our research has proven that the textiles in these masks can continuously inactivate the exhaled viruses and can make handling these masks even safer overall," says Uwe Rösler, Freie Universität Berlin.
“As governments seek to restart their economies, technology will play an important role in the protection of health and wellbeing,” said Sanjeev Swamy, Livinguard Founder. “What is truly exciting for us is that this technology has been proven effective and safe for everyday uses, such as for use on airplane seats and public transport, to protect our population in all areas of life.”
“We are delighted to be able to bring this ground-breaking technology to the UK and Ireland, and believe that it could be a gamechanger in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Gemma Smith, CEO of OmniProtect.
The principle underlying the Livinguard technology is to apply a positive charge at the molecular level to textile surfaces. When microbes come into contact with these positive charges, the microbial cell, which is negatively charged, is destroyed, leading to permanent destruction of the microorganism.
Unlike alternative metal-based solutions (such as silver, zinc or copper) that can be harmful to the environment and could cause health implications when used in a face mask, the technology has been found to be safe for both skin and lungs. Moreover, it destroys viruses and bacteria continuously and allows the wearer to reuse the mask up to 210 times with no compromise on safety or efficacy. Details on the technology can be found here.
Details on the scientific research from Freie Universität Berlin and ITA RWTH Aachen