The Weekly - May 19, 2020 - 8

The Pulse

Killer Fabric

Innovations in pathogen-fighting textiles are creating new sources
of antiviral fabric for outdoor apparel. By Helen Olsson
LAST WEEK, LIVINGUARD, A SWISS COMPANY that makes textiles for both health care and outdoor ap-

parel, announced news of a new treated fabric that kills viruses on contact. Recent tests conducted at the
University of Arizona showed that >99% of human coronavirus 229E that comes into contact with the
textile is destroyed. "It works through a process we call 'continuous capture and kill,'" Livinguard founder
Sanjeev Swamy told CNN Europe in a recent interview. "When a microbe is attracted to small charges [on
the textile's surface], the charge bursts it open and it dies."
The new mask is a reusable multibarrier system with three filtration layers that maintain its protection
through multiple washes over six months. One mask can replace 210 disposable masks. The masks are
already in use in the Middle East and India, and FDA approval for emergency use in the U.S. is underway.
The company hopes to distribute 50 million to 100 million treated masks in 2020.
Because Livinguard's antimicrobial textile destroys not only viruses but also odor-causing bacteria, the
fabric could have application in the outdoor apparel space. "We're very excited about bringing our technology to the marketplace," said Tim Philosophos, U.S. president of Livinguard. "There are many applications
across numerous industries that would benefit from it, and that certainly includes outdoor apparel." For
years, outdoor brands have employed fabric with silver, which has antimicrobial properties, to keep garments odor-free. Livinguard's fabric is an alternative to silver-based yarns for brands that worry about the
toxicity of heavy metals.


In mid-March, HeiQ, a specialty chemical
company that develops textiles for outdoor brands,
launched protective masks with Viroblock NPJ03,
a new antiviral, antibacterial treatment that was
also tested to be effective against human coronavirus 229E. (For safety reasons, textile companies
cannot use actual SARS-CoV-2, the virus that
causes COVID-19, for testing, but scientists believe
it can be similarly destroyed.)
HeiQ's fabric deactivates the virus on contact by
combining its silver and vesicle technologies. The
vesicle tech targets lipid-enveloped viruses, quickly
destroying the virus' membrane and allowing the
silver to then kill the virus. In studies, Viroblock
increased the protection of masks by more than
30 times compared to untreated masks. On April
30, HeiQ announced it was sharing its proprietary
formula for Viroblock with its industry peers, calling for a united effort to fight the pandemic.
HeiQ makes odor-fighting fabrics for outdoor
brands like Buff, Outdoor Research, Prana,
Mammut, Kjus, and Burton. "Right now, we are
very focused on our antiviral technology," said
Hoi Kwan Lam, HeiQ's chief marketing officer,
from the company's headquarters in Zurich.
"Since we launched Viroblock, our closest partners have expressed interest." Several hundred
new companies have also reached out. "Half of
those are outdoor-sports brands," she said. While
the company can't reveal the outdoor brands
that might use the textile, we think a Buff with
Viroblock is a no-brainer.
Meanwhile, Allied Feather & Down has tapped
its bedding division to make protective cotton
masks, producing 10,000 a day for LA's homeless
shelters and first responders in NYC. Allied partnered with Fuze biotech to treat its masks with a
cutting-edge fiber infusion that creates a protective
barrier against microbes. Fuze targets bacteria,
which often serve as hosts for viruses. As bacteria
move across a surface in search of food, they come
in contact with the Fuze particles, which pierce
their membrane shells and kill them. According to
the brand, creating an environment that's inhospitable to bacteria reduces the risk that viruses can
live. The mask's barrier will remain effective when
worn more than once without washing.


Livinguard's three-layer system
kills viruses on contact, can
be washed, and replaces 210
disposable face masks.

The Weekly - May 19, 2020

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