Lancaster firm announces global launch of PPE which 'kills Covid on contact'
Lancaster-based ViraCoat Limited has announced the global launch of a new range of antiviral and antimicrobial personal protective equipment (PPE) masks which begin to kill the Covid-19 virus SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses on contact.
The launch of the ViraCoat 3 Ply Type 2R Surgical face mask, ViraCoat FFP2 respirator mask and ViraCoat FFP3 respirator mask is a major breakthrough in reducing risks, to staff and patients of Covid-19, as there is a significant reduction in contamination risk during handling of masks while in use.
They will also reduce costs, because there is no need to change masks multiple times per working shift.
The product has gone through rigorous validation with Lancaster University and is now going into production in the UK.
The ViraCoat masks are impregnated with a novel and patented antiviral and antimicrobial coating that completely kills SARS-CoV-2 virus within minutes.
The entire surface of the mask is covered in the antimicrobial coating, including the straps; this significantly reduces the risk of contamination during handling of the masks and therefore transfer of the virus to the wearer or patient, even if the mask is removed and replaced several times during a shift.
Many hospitals report health workers changing masks between three and eight times throughout the course of the day as they move between patients or tasks.
ViraCoat’s Covid-19-eliminating masks could save millions of tons of masks ending up in landfill and our oceans every year. Less-frequent replacement means a significant potential financial saving for public and private health buyers, and other high-volume users.
The masks are ergonomically shaped for comfort and have an adjustable nose bridge for an optimal seal to prevent contamination by infectious aerosols - tiny virus particles that linger in the air and are now widely accepted as a source of coronavirus infections not screened by surgical style masks.
They are a distinctive green colour to easily differentiate from standard PPE.
At this stage the ViraCoat antimicrobial coating is being applied to masks conforming to the filter-barrier requirements of EU Standard EN149:2001 + A1: 2009 type filtering efficiency standard to meet current regulations.
However, the coating obviates the need for these types of barriers and new standards are being sought that will allow ViraCoat antimicrobial masks to be a lighter, more comfortable single layer, which can be repeatedly washed or sterilised.
The new masks, over a year in development, have undergone rigorous testing in the world-class biomedical facilities at Lancaster University.
Dr Muhammad Munir, chief scientific officer at ViraCoat’s parent company ViraCorp and lecturer in molecular virology at Lancaster University, who will be familiar to many as a regular contributor to discussions of Covid-19 in the media, said: "The antimicrobial coating of ViraCoat can significantly reduce the risks of contamination of wearers associated with handling masks, which may have SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses on their surface, for example while putting them on, removing them or disposing of the masks.
"The ViraCoat anti-microbial coating kills not only SARS-CoV-2 but also influenza and potentially other viruses.
"It has already been tested as effective against SARS-CoV-2 variants first identified in UK (alpha), South Africa (beta), Brazil (gamma) and India (delta). The moulded design also ensures an effective seal against ingress or egress of virus particles around the mask.”
ViraCoat is a subsidiary of ViraCorp, a group of biomedical research and development companies focused on developing viral defence products against the viral outbreaks, pandemics, and endemics that threaten world health; the ViraCoat range of masks is the first product to go into production.
The masks will be in UK production at scale in October with the highest standards of quality control.