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Antiviral clothes might soon keep us safe from the coronavirus

Coronavirus treatment
  • A vaccine for the novel coronavirus likely won’t be ready for the public this year, but antiviral clothes could help to protect us from the virus in the meantime.
  • Intelligent Fabric Technologies North America has developed a fabric treatment that is capable of deactivating SARS-CoV-2, and has proven its efficacy in a lab.
  • Products with the PROTX2 AV treatment could begin rolling out this fall.

Dozens of novel coronavirus vaccines are currently in development, but the chances of anyone aside from frontline workers being inoculated this year are slim to none. In the meantime, we’re going to have to keep ourselves safe by socially distancing, wearing a mask, and avoiding large gatherings, but clever innovations could make our lives even easier. In recent days, we’ve reported on masks that could potentially kill the virus on contact. It turns out that masks aren’t the only article of clothing that could protect us from the deadly virus.

This week, Fast Company published a story about an antiviral fabric treatment that is capable of killing SARS-CoV-2.

A few weeks ago, Canadian biotech firm Intelligent Fabric Technologies North America’s CEO Giancarlo Beevis got back lab results which showed that his company’s antiviral chemical — PROTX2 AV — killed 99.9% of COVID-19 on dry textile within 10 minutes, and continued to show efficacy for up to 24 hours.

According to Fast Company, the chemical is capable of penetrating the outer shell of SARS-CoV-2 and destroying its ability to replicate. Best of all, the treatment can be applied during the textile finishing process and doesn’t require any additional steps or machinery. Beevis says that an independent lab in Asia conducted the test under the standards of the American Association of Textile Chemists, making it the first textile chemical to deactivate this virus.

As Fast Company notes, other antimicrobial textile companies say they can offer protection against “coronavirus,” but they can be misleading, because they haven’t proven their chemical can stop the specific coronavirus that is currently causing a global health crisis. IFTNA, other the other hand, has.

With the spotlight on, the company says it is preparing a laundry additive treated with PROTX2 AV that could be ready to roll out by this fall. IFTNA is working on a line of personal protective equipment (PPE) as well, and a lifestyle travel brand called Underit. The PPE and some Underit items will be treated with the chemical.

As Beevis explains, IFTNA developed an antiviral version of its chemical treatment all the way back in 2012, but until now, no one had any interest. “No one wanted it,” he said. “The big deal in healthcare environments is bacteria. Their biggest costs involve bacterial infections that make people stay in the hospital longer, cause complications, or create readmittance. Viruses, like SARS or the flu, come and go. But it’s not the main concern in a healthcare facility.”

Needless to say, the tune has changed significantly in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.