South China company developing safe, reusable masks with nanosilver technology
Marje Pelayo • March 9, 2020 • 1058
REUTERS – A medical gear producer in south China’s Guangdong Province has been developing a reusable medical face mask using high-tech nanosilver technology which it hopes to make available as soon as possible during the ongoing novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Despite its direct effects on the coronavirus, the Anson Nano-Biotechnology group in Zhuhai City hopes to provide another form of protection against the epidemic.
Though their small production line limits how many masks they can produce, the company’s general manager Zhou Jiafa is confident that the nanosilver fabric lining the masks can help protect users against viruses and bacteria.
“We added a special nanosilver fabric, which is patented technology by our company. It has water absorptivity. It absorbs water, and the humid air as we exhale. The nanosilver particles continuously release ions, which are able to kill viruses and bacteria,” said Zhou.
“After eight hours of use per day and based on tests conducted by Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the bacteria content of our masks is lower than that of a national standard mask,” he added.
Anxin was one of the first companies in China to begin research and development on this material after the 2003 SARS outbreak, and after going through a lengthy certification and licensing process their masks are almost ready for the public.
“Our company is the first in China to be nationally qualified for nanosilver medical products. Following the outbreak, a special policy was put in place and anti-bacterial and anti-viral usage of masks has to be inspected and approved by Guangdong’s Drug Administration and Administration of Market Regulation of Zhuhai,” said Zhou.
While the epidemic has caused some disruption in the delivery of key materials required for the mass production of the revolutionary new masks which will cut down on waste and raw material consumption, Anxin are hopeful they’ll be able to get their product on the market as quickly as they can, and have designated several of their masks to hospitals and the medical industry.
“But right now we can only import two, because of time-wise, the delivery, the shipment of this equipment, will only come here after April or May. But we think that, at that time, the situation can be controlled,” said Li Zhanhong, the group’s chairman.
Designers in Indonesia and Malaysia are adding their artistic touches to reusable face masks, providing essential supplies and style and uniqueness amid the pandemic.
In the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, Nicholas Septian Sugandi’s print shop had been losing business throughout his country’s mass-scale restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, but thanks to a new product introduced in May, lost business has been “recovered”.
Sugandi’s shop has been printing customers’ faces onto reusable face masks so that they can “look like themselves” when wearing it.
Each of the reusable masks takes around 30 minutes to produce, and cost 50,000 Indonesian rupiah ($3) each. The print shop has received hundreds of orders.
Wearing a face mask remains a mandatory practice across Indonesia.
In neighbouring Malaysia, textile designer Hafiz Drahman has utilised traditional designs from around the region to create colourful cloth masks with interchangeable filters.
In particular, Hafiz uses Batik, which is a traditional Javanese art that uses wax and ink to decorate cloth, and is derived from the Javanese word “titik,” meaning “dot”.
“So, as a designer, I saw that as an opportunity to use the cloth that I had, that is Batik textiles, and turn it into face masks,” Hafiz said from his workshop in Shah Alam, on the outskirts of capital Kuala Lumpur.
Although face masks are not compulsory in Malaysia, people are encouraged to wear them to protect themselves in public areas.
Hafiz currently sells his masks at 20 ringgits ($4.68) each.
Indonesia currently has 50,187 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,620 deaths, the highest total in Southeast Asia, while Malaysia has recorded 8,600 cases and 121 deaths as of Friday morning (June 26). (Reuters)
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