HeiQ is a spin-off of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), which specializes in textiles technology. The start-up has now achieved a milestone. It has developed an antiviral and antimicrobial treatment method for textiles in the form of its HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03. Textiles treated with this method can also block the coronavirus, according to a press release issued by the company.
In a test, protective face masks treated with HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 were able to block coronavirus 229E up to 99.99 percent. With the treatment, the protective masks were therefore more than 150 percent more effective than not wearing a mask (log reduction of 2.90 to 4.48).
229E and Covid-19 are just two of several variants of the coronavirus. According to HeiQ, as well as the coronavirus, the technology is able to block influenza virus strains H1N1, H5N1 and H7N9 in addition to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
All protective face masks and PPE for doctors will now be treated with the new HeiQ technology. For example, the Chinese mask manufacturer Suzhou Bolisi will be using this technology. Treated masks should be available as early as April. The US company Kayser-Roth also intends to make use of the technology to manufacture its protective gloves.
Thierry Pelet, a member of HeiQ’s Scientific Advisory Board, commented in the press release: “I’m impressed by HeiQ’s ability to fast track such a complex innovation and bring this breakthrough to globally critical products in short time”.