ZEN supports Canada graphene mask recall
Working with Health Canada to ensure safety of its compound Metal Tech News – April 7, 2021
Last updated 4/13/2021 at 4:22pm
ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. said it supports Health Canada's recent precautionary recall of face masks that contain graphene, a 2D material that has been proven highly effective at killing viruses, bacteria, and fungi responsible for a broad range of diseases.
Health Canada recently issued an advisory warning that inhaling graphene particles from treated face masks may pose health risks.
"Until the department completes a thorough scientific assessment and has established the safety and effectiveness of graphene-containing face masks, it is taking the precautionary approach of removing them from the market while continuing to gather and assess information," Health Canada penned in its April 2 advisory.
ZEN, a Canada-based supplier of an antimicrobial graphene compound, is working in partnership with Trebor Rx to produce face masks and nitrile gloves with a graphene-based antimicrobial coating.
Both companies say they support the steps taken by Health Canada to regulate graphene-treated personal protective equipment and removing products that are unsafe for the public.
"As a Canadian owned manufacturer of personal protective equipment, we fully support Health Canada's decision to warn the public to the dangers of substandard imported PPE products," said Trebor Rx CEO George Irwin. "Companies that have rushed dangerous PPE to the public should be identified and their products removed from circulation. At Trebor we are proud to hold ourselves to the highest standard."
Both Trebor and ZEN have had laboratory testing carried out to verify the safety of both the graphene compound and masks it is being applied to.
"Safety and third-party validation will always be a top priority for ZEN – and is why we are glad Health Canada has taken these steps to protect the public from substandard products like those removed from the market in Quebec last week," said Zen Graphene Solutions CEO Greg Fenton.
Made of a single layer of carbon atoms, graphene slices through the protective cell walls of viruses and bacteria, destroying them without the use of drugs.
Multiple tests carried out at laboratories in Canada have shown that a graphene-based compound developed by ZEN is 99.9% effective at killing a broad range of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This includes the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19 and multidrug-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Results from testing of the graphene compound can be read at Graphene may treat spectrum of disease in the December 30 edition of Metal Tech News and Graphene shows promise in superbug fight in the March 17 edition of Metal Tech News.
ZEN says these results are even more significant when you consider the extremely low concentration needed.
Testing carried out by Nucro-Technics – a pharmaceutical contract research organization based in Canada – showed no adverse effects of the graphene compound after seven days of repeated doses thousands of times higher than the minimum inhibitory concentration needed for 99.9% effectiveness against viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
"Our focus as a company is developing technology that helps protect people and the environment. An integral part of that is working with experts and independent third parties to validate effectiveness and safety," said Fenton. "Through this approach we have proven that our technology is highly effective against pathogens and safe for use on masks."
Trebor has had separate tests completed on the masks to be treated with the ZEN graphene compound.
Trebor surgical masks without the graphene coating have received Health Canada approval as a level 1 medical device in line with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards, and Trebor anticipates receiving levels 2 and 3 Health Canada approvals soon. The three levels designate the amount of fluid resistance protection offered.
"Over the past year Trebor Rx's products have undergone rigorous testing at Canadian labs to ensure we can stand behind the efficacies Canadians deserve," said Irwin. "We are committed to working with our partners at ZEN to develop innovative PPE technology to support frontline workers battling against COVID-19."
In addition to using ZEN's graphene compound to treat face masks and other personal protective equipment, Dr. Tony Mazzulli, microbiologist-in-chief and infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, has recommended exploring the use of the formula as a pharmaceutical product for the treatment of disease.
Graphene compound delivery mechanisms, like a dry powder inhaler or nasal spray, are being considered as a targeted delivery system that delivers the 2D carbon material directly at the site of respiratory tract infections.
"A novel approach to the use of this GC (graphene compound) for treatment of common respiratory tract infections, while minimizing any potential toxicity, is to use it topically," said Dr. Mazzulli. "This could have multiple applications, including the following: as an intranasal spray or mixed with normal saline to create a solution for use as a sinus rinse for the treatment of sinusitis and other common upper respiratory tract infections; as a puffer or inhaler for the treatment of lower respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia; or, as an ophthalmic solution for the treatment of conjunctivitis or pre-op preparation for ophthalmic surgery."
ZEN said it is in discussions with several interested parties from the pharmaceutical industry, organizations focused on antimicrobial resistance, and world-class researchers in academia.
In the meantime, the company continues to work toward advancing a safe and effective solution that adds an extra layer of protection to masks and gloves.
"Our technology was borne amidst the pandemic out of a need to better protect front-line workers and those most vulnerable. Through our collective experience this past year, we firmly believe the need for additional protection will endure and why we will remain steadfast in achieving this goal," said Fenton. "We are fully committed to working with Health Canada and our partner at Trebor to ensure our Made-in-Canada solution can bring additional protection to those that need it most as quickly as possible."