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Israeli startup produces anti-pathogen fabric

In the Industry | March 23, 2020 | By:

An Israeli start-up company that developed an anti-pathogen fabric that could be used in masks to stop the spread of coronavirus is donating its first product – some 120,000 masks – to Israeli hospitals, medical professionals and coronavirus patients, the Jerusalem Post reports.

“Sonovia Ltd. is determined to use its novel technology for the good of the State of Israel,” the company said in a release. “In this crucial period, it is hoped that our efforts will help curtail the number of clinical cases of Coronavirus we see in Israel in the upcoming weeks and months.”

The Jerusalem Post 
first wrote about Sonovia in late January, when there were no Israelis diagnosed with the potentially lethal virus. Since then, around 200 have contracts the virus and the number is expected to grow.

The company has found a local partner to generate its industrialization efforts and Sonovia, believes, “we have the ability to help prevent the virus from spreading.”

On Sunday, the company imported all of its stored fabric from its R&D line in Germany to its headquarters in Israel and then to a factory in Jerusalem that will make the masks. Dr. Jason Migdal, a research scientist with Sonovia, told The Jerusalem Post that the masks will be ready by next week.

The Jerusalem Post reported in January that the company’s technology is based on a lab-scale sonochemical process that was developed at Bar-Ilan University. Specifically, Sonovia developed an almost-permanent, ultrasonic, fabric-finishing technology for mechanical impregnation of zinc oxide nanoparticles into textiles.

“The technology is based upon a physical phenomenon called cavitation,” said Migdal.  “Soundwaves are used to physically infuse desired chemicals onto the structure area of materials, enhancing them with clinically proven antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Research published about Sonovia differentiates its product from the many antimicrobial fabrics that have been developed and marketed, including the use of silver, which has proven effective but costly. Sonovia uses lower-cost, metal-oxide nanoparticles, including zinc oxide and copper oxide, to impart antibacterial protection.

Research conducted through a grant by the European Union, in conjunction with 16 partners from 10 European countries, found the one-step process to be effective. Ultrasonic irradiation causes the formation of antimicrobial metal-oxide nanoparticles and actively impregnates these nanoparticles into textile fibers. Moreover, those fabrics impregnated with the zinc and copper oxides were shown to retain significant antibacterial activity, even after 100 wash cycles at 75 degrees Celsius, or 65 wash cycles at 92 degrees Celsius. A Singaporean lab, which will also receive sample masks from Sonovia, will now test the company’s textile for its level of activity against COVID-19.

When asked why the company would provide these masks, its first-ever produced by the fabric, for free, Migdal said that the company would be providing samples to international businesses in hopes of securing future commercial partners.

However, “this is a humanitarian action,” he said.

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