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HeiQ Viroblock Successfully Tested Against COVID-19 Virus on Textiles

HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 is among the first textile technologies in the world to be proven effective in laboratory testing against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Tests conducted by Swiss textile innovator HeiQ with the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, Australia, showed that fabric treated with HeiQ’s Viroblock NPJ03 technology demonstrated rapid antiviral action against the SARS-CoV-2 virus strain.

HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 is a treatment designed to provide textiles with antiviral and antibacterial properties. The combination of silver antimicrobial technology and vesicle technology rapidly destroys enveloped viruses including coronaviruses. It has previously been tested against coronavirus 229E, another strain of virus in the coronavirus family.

HeiQ said the latest testing with SARS-CoV-2 virus was conducted by researchers at the Doherty Institute, a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital, an institution combining research, teaching, public health and reference laboratory services, diagnostic services and clinical care in infectious diseases and immunity.

The company said the research project involved a disinfection test protocol that simulated the real-life interaction of small aerosol droplets contaminating clothing. A known concentration of the SARS-CoV-2 virus came into contact with the sample fabric for 30 minutes, after which time the researchers measured the remaining infectious SARS-CoV-2 viruses.

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The fabric sample treated with HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 had no infective viruses left after 30 minutes. The result indicated a SARS-CoV-2 virus reduction of more than 99.9% relative to the inoculum control.

“The confirmation of antiviral activity of HeiQ Viroblock against SARS-CoV-2 is an important milestone,” Carlo Centonze, CEO of HeiQ Group, said. “This data forms part of our ongoing efforts to help provide textiles with greater levels of protection against viruses and contribute to efforts towards mitigation of the global pandemic.”

Dr. Julie McAuley, senior research officer at the Doherty Institute, said a key part of the Institute’s current COVID-19 research focus is on testing different ways to achieve an antiviral effect against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“Testing the action of different disinfectants and surface treatments is one way that our research can help provide insights towards helping to stop the pandemic,” McAuley added.

While not addressing HeiQ’s material or testing, the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) warned the industry on Monday not to be misled by false anti-viral product claims in the COVID19 pandemic.

“The uncertainties surrounding COVID19 and the best response for safety and personal protective equipment (PPE), has many understandably concerned,” the organization said in a statement published by Innovation in Textiles.

However, the AATCC warned companies not to be misled by false or ill-informed product claims concerning protection against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 or COVID19 in textiles or related materials.

“Successfully passing AATCC TM100 or AATCC TM147 has no bearing on whether a product will prevent or protect against the COVID19 virus,” AATCC said. “While an excellent predictor of functionality, if someone promises or alludes that their textile-related product will defend against COVID19 solely because it passed one or both of these methods, please be cautious…There are currently no AATCC textile testing methods or approved modifications of AATCC testing methods that are available for specifically measuring antiviral activity of textiles against SARS-CoV-2.”