The Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region’s leading manufacturer of hygienic products has released promising results that its medical masks can protect against pathogens, including the coronavirus causing COVID-19. Now, its Swiss technology partner is hoping to expand on its distribution, with a focus to launch in the US.
In collaboration with the University of Arizona, Fine Hygienic Holding (FHH)’s ‘Fine Guard’ masks – which are gaining increasing popularity amongst consumers in the UAE – have undergone testing that confirms that the Livinguard textile technology incorporated into the masks “effectively neutralises pathogens of all kinds upon contact, including human coronavirus 229e [also known as HCoV-229E].”
Whilst testing wasn’t expanded to include SARS-CoV-2, it is believed that the technology would also be effective on that coronavirus, stated the company’s chief executive.
“So much research from independent third party labs in the US and Europe already showed that the textile tech applied on the masks would kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses – they tested on many viruses from yellow fever to polio and coliphage,” said FHH CEO, James Michael Lafferty. “Because it works very well on an enveloped virus – which has a protein ring around the membrane – and because all coronaviruses are enveloped, we always believed it would work on COVID-19.
“Coronavirus 229E is the closest cousin to COVID-19 [‘s virus]. We didn’t do the test on the COVID-19 [virus] because people are still getting samples of this virus to test with. We tested with the closest cousin – both have identical surfaces and are both enveloped and one is replicable to the other.”
THE LARGER CONTEXT
Livinguard Technologies is a wholly-owned operating unit of Green Impact Holding, a Zug-based microbiology and material sciences company that equips materials with self-disinfecting technology. According to the company’s website, the Livinguard masks offer “five levels of protection against human coronavirus 229E,” and are “25x cheaper” compared to other masks.
“It has a lifetime of 6 months, replacing 210 conventional masks,” the website also states.
The scientific tests on the Fine Guard masks took place under the supervision of Dr Charles Gerba, a professor of virology at the university’s Department of Environmental Science, who confirmed: “Livinguard textile technology holds promise in the fight against COVID-19.”
Now, Livinguard is working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with the aim to introduce the masks into the US market in the coming weeks.
In the MENA region, the face masks are available in two versions: the Fine Guard N95 (which retails for $26.95), and the Fine Guard Comfort ($20.99).
ON THE RECORD
“As a leader in the wellness and hygiene industry, FHH is dedicated to providing hygienic solutions which go beyond the set market standards. Fine worked closely with Livinguard over the past couple of years to develop products that keep consumers safe and healthy,” Lafferty continued. “We are proud to be their exclusive partner in the MENA region, providing our communities and consumers with one of the most technologically advanced and effective hygienic face masks on the market today.
“We are encouraged by the confirmation of the newly-available test results from the University of Arizona and look forward to making masks treated with the Livinguard technology even more widely available.”