A manufacturer in east China has developed the world’s first non-woven antimicrobial face mask embedded with copper, and said the product has been scientifically proven to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 by 99%.
The new type of face mask, developed by Anhui Health Box Technology, has self-sanitizing properties and can be reused up to 60 times, the Hefei-based company announced on its website on Thursday.
The mask’s salmon-pink color is attributed to copper-oxide micro-particles, which can naturally kill a variety of bacteria and viruses that come in contact with it. A recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that the Covid-19 virus died after four hours when placed on a copper surface.
Compared to the melt-blown fabric used in traditional face masks, the new copper-infused mask is at least 50% more effective in killing bacteria and viruses, the company said, based on testing done by the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Nelson Labs in the US.
The product has also been verified by the Anhui Provincial Testing Institute and obtained the European Union’s CE Mark certification as well as the ISO 9001 quality management certification, the company added.
“The biggest advantage of the copper-impregnated mask is its self-sanitizing property, which makes it reusable and can greatly reduce the environmental impact of many single-use face masks,” said Professor Guan Yi, director of the State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases at HKU. Professor Guan led the testing of the masks after three months of development and production.
According to some estimates, a total of 129 billion face masks and 65 billion plastic gloves are being used every single month globally during the pandemic.
Anhui Health Box Technology is currently working to fulfill domestic and international orders of about 250 million masks, with sales amounting to more than 1.5 billion yuan ($229 million).
In the meantime, the race for a vaccine continues as case numbers rise. On Sunday, Bahrain approved a Covid-19 vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and launched a registration system for citizens and residents to receive it for free.
Sinopharm chairman Yang Xiaoming said at a Beijing forum on Sunday that Phase 3 clinical trials have been carried out in more than 10 countries with nearly 60,000 volunteers.
He added that second-stage production lines of the China National Biotec Group (CNBG) — Sinopharm’s vaccine and bioscience subsidiary — are expected to be completed this month, and production capacity is estimated to reach 1 billion vaccines next year.