Anti-bacterial and anti-viral finishes have been in the market even before the pandemic hit the world. Anti-bacterial treatment in clothing was relatively widespread before the COVID-19 outbreak, marketed as a way to reduce the frequency of washing the clothes. Apparels treated with anti-bacterial finishes prevent micro-organisms from overgrowth and provide protection against decomposition. These also provide protection against the uncomfortable results of microbes such as bad smell.
The demand for fabrics treated with these finishes increased with the surge in the global demand for sportswear and apparel. Since people were, and especially now, are turning to be more health conscious, it has led to the rise in consumer demand for apparel with anti-microbial properties to prevent the growth of odour and bacteria during physical activities. Another use of the technology is in healthcare where it supports microbial contaminations of textiles to keep them hygienically clean.
While the application for anti-viral clothing was less and bound to special needs earlier, the outbreak of the pandemic resulted in a sudden rise in the market demand for fabrics treated with anti-viral finishes to reduce the number of infective viruses’ particles that contact the surface of textiles. The anti-viral textiles appear to become the trendy expression in the business, as manufacturers claim these fabrics have a special ability to battle the spread and transmission of infections through different materials. Also, as the world is still fighting the pandemic, face masks have become an important part of daily life. Therefore, a lot of brands are launching masks and other collections treated with anti-viral finishes to offer enhanced protection to the wearer against the virus.
One such company offering anti-viral textile treatment is Devan, headquartered in Belgium. It has revealed a new test result confirming the high performance virus-reducing capabilities of its BI-OME fabric coating technology on both unwashed and intensely washed fabrics. BI-OME® is a permanent, non-harmful odour-control technology which guarantees optimal freshness and hygiene for all kinds of textiles, from socks and underwear to mattresses and pillows and even carpets and curtains. The result of the independent testing proves that BI-OME can achieve 99 per cent and higher virus reduction, including SARS-COV-2, on samples before washing and retains 98.5 per cent even after 25-wash cycle.
“In view of the COVID-19 pandemic and fast-approaching autumn/winter flu season, we were keen to provide textile manufacturers with concrete assurance regarding virus reduction performance on washed samples according to ISO 18184. This exceeds the limitations of the post-wash anti-microbial results most commonly shared for other technologies, giving the textile industry a clear, more precise overview of performance and wash durability,” comments Sven Ghyselinck, CEO, Devan.
Various treated fabric types including polyester, cotton and polycottons were tested against viruses like SARS-COV-2 (known to cause COVID-19), Feline Corona, Vaccinia (the EU standard for enveloped viruses) and Porcine Respiratory viruses. The results were reduction of 99.96 per cent of the activity of SARS-COV-2. The company is further developing the technology to improve wash resistance and lowering the economical add-on cost as low as possible.
Another great development in the field is by HeiQ, a leader in textile innovation with the launch of HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03, an anti-viral and anti-microbial textile treatment that was tested effective against coronavirus. Since 15 years, the company has been helping brands improve textile products, and with the outbreak of coronavirus, it accelerated its research and development for creating innovation that would help people stay protected against the deadly virus. The HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 is an anti-viral and anti-microbial textile treatment, proven to be effective against human coronavirus (229E) in face mask testing, significantly enhancing the anti-viral log reduction from 2.90 of untreated face masks to 4.48, over 99.99 per cent reduction of virus infectivity.
The technology, a unique combination of vesicle and silver technologies, inhibits the growth and persistence of bacteria and viruses. The HeiQ vesicle technology targets lipid-enveloped viruses, such as coronavirus, providing rapid virus deactivation, while the HeiQ silver technology inhibits the replication of both bacteria and viruses. HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 can be applied to a wide spectrum of textile surfaces including face masks, air filters, medical gowns, curtains, drapes and more.
As a result of development of these fabrics, several brands have recently come up with collections with anti-viral finishes that promise to kill coronavirus when in contact with the garment. Recently, Dollar – India’s leading company in hosiery and apparel market – collaborated with HealthGuard, based in Australia for the launch of anti-viral product range consisting of masks and innerwear for men. The fabric treated with HealthGuard chemical ensures an efficiency of about 99.94 per cent against coronavirus and other similar viruses. These double-layered fabrics are comfortable, breathable and can be reused as it retains the effectiveness up to 20 washes.
“Dollar Industries Limited has joined hands with HealthGuard, an Australia-based company that has been a pioneer in innovative disease prevention technology for over 25 years now, and curated a new range of anti-viral products. Made from cotton and non-woven fabrics, the product range features the perfect blend of science and comfort,’’ says Vinod Kumar Gupta, Managing Director, Dollar Industries Limited.
Tevero is said to be the first brand to have come up with masks with HeiQ textile technology in India. The masks and gloves produced using the technology can provide the wearer extra protection from the virus, while maintaining the softness and breathability. These are available under the collection called ‘Virus Shield’. The mask is made using two layers of soft-knitted cotton that helps in maintaining the breathability of the fabric and both of the layers are treated with the anti-viral treatment. Between the layers is a filter made of melt-blown fabric that provides 99.5 per cent bacterial filtration efficiency.
Apart from garments, various companies are launching the anti-viral finish in garment accessories like zippers also, and YKK has been the first to do so. The company has come up with the range of zippers that are essentially self-cleaning, as the tapes are treated with Polygiene’s ViralOff® technology. The treated textile promises to reduce viruses by 99 per cent in 2 hours.
With the development, the company aims to offer protection to consumers even in the slightest details of the fabric like zippers, making the garment completely safe. The chemicals being used are eco-sustainable and the technology further encourages reduction in the frequency of washing of the garment, therefore increasing the garment life and reducing the energy, water and chemical consumption.