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Test results of a new fabric facemask developed in Australia show a 99.9% kill rate against the bacterium that causes Tuberculosis.

A disposable fabric facemask developed to protect against pandemic Influenza has now also proven effective against the Tuberculosis forming mycrobacterium. The mask, produced by Melbourne company Virogard Pty Ltd, is unique in that it not only filters potentially harmful particles but actively kills them whilst remaining entirely safe to humans. The mask is designed such that it cannot leach and contains no potentially harmful elements such as heavy metals, fluoro-chemicals, pesticides or nano-particles.

Development of the apparently simple mask began in 2007 with the identification of a unique polymer treatment that, when applied to fabrics, actively kills micro-organisms such as e-Coli and pneumonia bacteria. The company then produced a simple 2-ply protective mask with a more ergonomic fit than conventional surgical masks and began testing against Human Influenza Type A which encompasses all known or likely variants of pandemic influenza. Results were considered outstanding with a kill rate exceeding 99.9%. Because the antimicrobial properties of the fabric survive repeated washing and even hot ironing that mask enjoyed the added benefit of being re-usable.

International demand for a fabric mask with the higher filtration capabilities of a particulate respirator then triggered further development that has now resulted in the Virogard P2 mask that fully meets Australian Standard AS/NZS1716 for disposable respirators. That Standard is roughly equivalent, and in some elements more demanding, than other international Standards such as the US N95. This new Australian mask still incorporates the Virogard active antimicrobial protection against both TB and Influenza virus and may thus be the most advanced fabric respirator anywhere. The P2 mask is single use. As yet there are no international Standards that would recognize re-usability in fabric facemasks.