Israeli mask maker Sonovia awaits China coronavirus lab result

FILE PHOTO; Employees of Israel's Sonovia Ltd, makers of washable and reusable antiviral masks, which the company says can help stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), work at their laboratory in Ramat Gan, Israel May 17, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - An Israeli company expects to receive results in the coming week from a Beijing lab that will test whether a fabric it has developed will be able to neutralise 99% of COVID-19, even after being washed multiple times.

Sonovia says its reusable anti-viral masks are coated in zinc oxide nano-particles that destroy bacteria, fungi and viruses, which it says can help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The fabric can be used in textiles for hospitals, protective equipment and clothing. But the masks are not certified for use by medical professionals in operating and emergency rooms, which use only disposable masks, according to Liat Goldhammer, Sonovia’s chief technology officer.

Tests in the Microspectrum (Weipu Jishu) lab in Shanghai demonstrated that the washable fabric used in its masks neutralised 90.67% of the coronavirus to which it was exposed, according to a report published by the lab in June and seen by Reuters.

Further testing is underway at an affiliated lab in Beijing.

“We will have results in the coming days,” Goldhammer told Reuters this week. “We expect the test to show 99% efficiency.”

Sonovia says it has clients in Germany and the United States, and is conducting a pilot for an Italian company. It also sells its masks online to retail consumers.

The tests in China follow one in May on the material at Austria’s HygCen medical lab using the Vaccinia virus, which has similar properties to the SARS-COVID family. The firm hired by Sonovia said the test showed “a good virucidal effect”, according to the lab report.

Reuters has not independently confirmed Sonovia’s results.

Editing by Alexander Smith and Nick Tattersall