The Elements of Innovation Discovered

Zinc-infused mask fights coronavirus

Israeli company's SonoMask offers near perfect virus defense Metal Tech News – January 27, 2021

Among a growing number of facial masks infused with minerals that innovators around the globe have brought to the market in recent months to help stop the spread of the coronavirus infection, SonoMask is one touted by its makers as being the only mask proven to neutralize the virus and provide nearly 100% protection.

Engineered by an Israeli company, Sonovia Ltd., the mask resulted from researchers applying antimicrobial technology developed in 2013 to produce a reusable face mask that protects wearers from airborne disease-causing pathogens.

Dubbed the SonoMask, the facial covering literally destroys bacteria, fungi, and viruses on contact. This includes severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes the often devastating and sometimes deadly COVID-19 infection.

Sonovia's patented ultrasound-based technology embeds zinc-oxide nanoparticles directly onto textiles.

"We use disruptive sound wave technology via eco-friendly processes to embed desirable, long-lasting, highly effective properties integral to the textile," Sonovia says in its marketing literature.

"Our revolutionary disruptive sono-based technology embeds (zinc-oxide) nano-particles with desired properties onto textiles, creating a durable added-value fabric that retains its properties in industrial and home washes," the company explains.

Zinc is a mineral that supports a healthy immune system, and the coating is considered safe for human use.

Positive test results

The treated fabric used in manufacturing the SonoMask has undergone external, independent lab testing, which verified that the material retains its antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties and successfully de-activates more than 90% of COVID-19 particles for one year, according to Sonovia.

Dr. Jason Migdal, a research scientist and the company's microbiology R&D strategist, told reporters in mid-2020 that early testing of the treated fabric used to make the company's masks showed it to be more than 90% effective against viruses.

"The fact that we have this preliminary result means we're going to be fast-tracked into many different laboratories for more rigorous testing. We anticipate 99% or above against the SARS-CoV-2 when it finally gets to be tested," Migdal said in June.

"The testing is really a pinnacle moment for the company because it's the product of months of research and development and producing the masks," he continued. "We knew we only had a short time, relatively, to provide a solution for people in the public."

In October, the SonoMask, displayed an ability to neutralize the novel coronavirus at an effectiveness of 99.35% in trials performed by the internationally accredited ATCC Testing laboratory.

Test results recently reported by the BBI Laboratory of North Carolina, corroborated the earlier findings that show the SonoMask successfully neutralizing 99.34% of COVID-19 particles, even after 55 wash cycles, according to the company.

Sonovia's reusable antiviral masks also filter 98% of particles measuring five microns or larger and more than 94% of particles as small as three microns, according to World Health Organization regulation.

The results showed that the mask has the ability to neutralize fallen traces of coronavirus within 30 minutes after making contact with the fabric.

Other tests showed the SonoMask has a 99.89% virucidal effect, meaning the fabric works to deactivate viruses so that they cannot enter host cells, after an exposure time of 24 hours.

Sonovia recently completed its initial public offering, attracting a total of NIS 55.9 million (US$20.4 million) in investments.

A green solution

Sonovia said it uses all water-based formulations in making the masks.

"No chemical binders or other harmful materials are used. We always strive to use the most sustainable, environmentally-friendly chemicals. Fabrics and surfaces treated with our technology are completely safe for use and the environment," the company says.

"Our conscience guides us ... In one of the most polluting industries out there, we offer a commercial solution that eliminates the need for chemical binders and other harmful chemicals. It offers a safe, green, and cost-effective process that yields reusable, durable, and practical products."

Sonovia said its mission is to help save lives and improve the quality of life through built-in active protection textiles that eliminate human surroundings' danger, while minimizing environmental pollution in the process.

By offering smart, eco-friendly, long-lasting textile performance fabric solutions, that are both cost-effective and sustainable, the company says it is fulfilling that mission.

"Our scope of solutions ranges from textiles with active built-in protection against viruses, bacteria, fungi, and odor with a proven neutralizing success rate of over 99% to additional fields of UV protection, water-repellency, and dyeing, as requested by our customers in the apparel, automotive, locomotive, hospitality, and medical industries," Sonovia said.

The company also noted that its unique patented process is fully automated and easy to integrate into existing production lines within a short period of time.

Earlier research led to breakthrough

Sonovia was founded in 2013 following more than 10 years of research by Bar Ilan University Israel and a successful four years of European Union-funded research to fight hospital-acquired infections.

When the coronavirus outbreak began, Sonovia donated masks. Now the company is working to bring its technology across the world. The company's current clients include hospitals in Germany and the United States.

"Bolstered by this result we can now expand the production even further to reach particularly in Brazil where there is now a very large COVID-19 issue," Migdal said. "We can design more personal protective equipment such as gloves with the same treatment and the same type of fabrics. This is going to provide even greater security."

Sonovia said its masks were "widely well-received" in New York and Florida, and the company sought approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market the SonoMask to the medical community in the United States.

Migdal said Sonovia also will expand its efforts at making sure those on the frontlines of America's battle with COVID-19 are further protected while they are working to save lives.

Once armed with FDA approval, Sonovia said its objective will be to completely replace widely used, but wasteful and non-virucidal, disposable masks and to proceed to compare efficiency overall against medical respirator masks.

The company is also collaborating with industry leaders across multiple sectors, including the apparel, automotive, locomotive, hospitality, and medical companies, to evolve textile performance in additional fields, such as UV-protection and water-repellency and fire-retardancy.


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