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Swine Flu Face Mask Readied for Fight Against Pandemic

  • Published: 2009-04-28 (Revised/Updated 2010-07-14) : Author: Filligent
  • Synopsis: Filligent is mobilizing stocks of its anti-infective BioMask to help combat global spread of deadly new Mexican strain of swine flu.

Main Document

Filligent, the Hong Kong-based biotech company, is mobilizing stocks of its anti-infective BioMask to help combat the global spread of the deadly new Mexican strain of Swine Flu or Influenza A.

Map of Latest H1N1 Swine Flu Outbreak Cases and Death Statistics

The BioMask is the first medical face mask to kill the Influenza A virus within seconds of contact while retaining the breath-ability required by front-line workers and children, who are often the first to fall in a contagious episode.

"Humanitarian organizations and governments are on the front line of containing infection, especially among children," says CEO Melissa Mowbray-d'Arbela. "We're allocating our resources to respond to their needs. The BioMask was designed specifically for situations like this."

According to pandemic experts, an effective face mask, like the germ-killing BioMask, could reduce the number of cases from one million to just six, in the first months of a pandemic. To date, the new strain of swine flu has killed more than 81 people in Mexico and spread to the United States and, by air travel, to New Zealand. Containment is critical. "We need to buy people time in order for anti-virals or vaccines to be delivered or, in the case of drug resistance, to be developed," says Filligent's CEO. The CE-certified BioMask, which kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses on contact, is a powerful weapon to contain the spread of the swine flu, a strain of Influenza A.

The Influenza A virus can stay alive on hands and surfaces for hours if not days. Human-to-human transfer also occurs by touching contaminated surfaces. The self-sanitizing BioMask reduces the risk of cross-contamination by continuously killing germs. Since it remains germ-free after being touched, the BioMask is especially suitable for use by children, who tend to be both careless and fidgety when wearing a face mask.

Filligent designed the BioMask to withstand the rigors of pandemic logistics. Apart from being as affordable as standard masks, it is resistant to fungal contamination and extreme conditions, including humidity, heat or cold. It is flat-packed and can be surge manufactured. "We are working with retailers and humanitarian organizations to get the BioMask and our other anti-infective products out to people as soon as possible."

About the BioMask

The BioMask is based on an "intelligent filtration" technology and is fabricated from a scientifically designed and tested multilayer material which has in its internal structure a unique active layer which has highly targeted anti-microbial properties. This active layer aggressively detects, traps, and then rapidly kills pathogens, within minutes of contact.

This patented BioFriend textile layer CAPTURES pathogens by mimicking the sites on human cells to which they normally attach, then DESTROYS them by disrupting their surfaces (viruses) and cell walls (bacteria). Many viruses, including influenza viruses, are known to bind to a terminal sialic acid residue on the surface of the human cell membrane. The binding agent in the BioFriend textile mimics the binding action of sialic acid on influenza viruses.

Typical face masks (including standard surgical masks and N95s) do not kill airborne pathogens. They are based on a passive mechanical filtration design only. Thus, microbes on or inside the mask can stay alive for many hours, greatly increasing the likelihood of cross-contamination. When compared to the tight-fitting N95 face mask, the BioMask is far superior in terms of efficacy, comfort and breath-ability.

As part of the CE testing process, the BioMask was sprayed with live aerosolized Influenza A virus equivalent to 50 times the amount contained in a normal sneeze. (The Mexican swine flu is a strain of the Influenza A virus.) More than 99.9% of the viruses were killed after less than one minute. Similar tests were conducted on other key pathogens, with similar results. When the BioMask was tested in terms of all the major routes of exposure, oral and dermal, it showed no harmful effects on humans. The BioMask has been tested for dermal bio-compatibility following internationally recognized standards set out in ISO10933: Biological Evaluation of Medical Devices. Tests were conducted to evaluate cytotoxicity to cells, skin irritation on contact, and skin sensitization after repeated contact. No cytotoxicity, irritation or incidence of sensitization was observed.

The BioMask is the first in a series of new products in Filligent's anti-microbial personal care range, BioFriend, launching this year. By complying with the European Community's Medical Devices Directive 93/42/EEC, Filligent has met the stringent EU requirements for design, efficacy and safety of its innovative, germ-killing BioMask.

About BioFriend

In 2008, Filligent developed a revolutionary technology, called BioFriend, which kills viruses and bacteria on contact. BioFriend's molecular technology can be applied to substrates such as rayon and cotton-textile fiber. BioFriend captures pathogens by mimicking the sites on human cells to which they normally attach, then, destroys them by disrupting their surfaces (viruses) and cell walls (bacteria). BioFriend kills germs including those that cause Influenza A (including pandemic strains such as the Mexican swine flu), Herpes Simplex, rhinovirus, common colds, measles, pneumonia, SARS, tuberculosis, streptococcus, and MRSA. By targeting only the dangerous elements, BioFriend's intelligent filtration technology optimizes breath-ability and comfort. With its ability to kill a broad range of microbes, while applied to various substrates, BioFriend naturally lends itself to wide application across consumer products. BioFriend not only contains and protects against infection, but keeps items of everyday personal use, prone to bacterial and viral contamination, safe and clean.


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