Filligent, a 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 Influenza A. The BioMask is the first medical face mask to kill the Influenza A virus within seconds of contact while retaining the breathability 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 will be critical if a pandemic occurs.
"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. They say the CE-certified BioMask, which kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses on contact, is a powerful weapon to contain the spread of swine flu, a strain of Influenza A, the company says.
The Influenza A virus can stay alive on hands and surfaces for hours. 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 rigours 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.
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(TM) 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(TM) 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 breathability.
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 biocompatibility 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(TM), 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.
In 2008, Filligent developed a revolutionary technology, called BioFriend(TM), which kills viruses and bacteria on contact. BioFriend's molecular technology can be applied to substrates such as rayon and cotton textile fiber. BioFriend(TM) 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(TM) 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 breathability and comfort. With its ability to kill a broad range of microbes, while applied to various substrates, BioFriend(TM) naturally lends itself to wide application across consumer products. BioFriend(TM) not only contains and protects against infection, but keeps items of everyday personal use, prone to bacterial and viral contamination, safe and clean.
Filligent is a Hong Kong biotech company that develops advanced and affordable 'intelligent filtration' technologies designed to combat the transmission of diseases. Using biochemistry at the molecular level, its proprietary technologies seek out dangerous pathogens and chemicals, from air, water, and from off surfaces - including the human skin, killing or inactivating them before they enter the human body. Filligent provides ordinary people with affordable and advanced protective devices against infectious or other diseases.