HeiQ & Xefco unveil antimicrobial textiles

HeiQ & Xefco unveil antimicrobial textiles

Xefco, in collaboration with Swiss textile innovator HeiQ, launches XViroblock, the world’s first thin-film antimicrobial copper surface treatment for textiles that exhibit significant viricidal activity against SARS-CoV-2 after only five minutes.

Australian-based
materials science and technology start-up, Xefco, in collaboration with Swiss
textile innovator HeiQ, has launched XViroblock, the world’s first thin-film
antimicrobial copper surface treatment for textiles proven to exhibit
significant viricidal activity against SARS-CoV-2 after only five minutes. 
                   

Studies conducted
by the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute)
showed textiles finished with XViroblock inactivated SARS-CoV-2, with
significant inactivation occurring within five minutes of direct contact. 

By developing
textile treatments that provide rapid viricidal and antibacterial
functionality, Xefco hopes to reduce transmission of disease by reducing the
persistence of pathogens on treated surfaces.

“The antimicrobial
properties of copper are well-established. Our technology harnesses these
incredible attributes through our unique process of applying an ultra-thin
surface coating of the metal onto textiles,” said
Tom Hussey, CEO and Co-Founder, Xefco.

“XViroblock can be
applied to hydrophobic materials that are difficult to treat via conventional
textile finishing methods. This unlocks new applications in personal protective
equipment, medical textiles and air filtration aiding the defence against COVID-19.
XViroblock may help reduce the transmission of infectious viruses particularly
in applications where materials may not be replenished quickly or easily such
as PPE used by front-line healthcare workers and air filters on planes and
restaurants,” continued Hussey.

Researchers from
the Doherty Institute exposed XViroblock treated textiles to known infectious
concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 for incremental periods of time before extracting
and measuring the remaining infectious virus titre. The testing proved a
statistically significant reduction in infectious virus titre within 5 minutes
of exposure, compared to untreated textile. Further studies conducted also
showed that the treated fabrics significantly degraded the SARS-CoV-2 genome in
a treatment concentration and time of exposure dependent manner.

Xefco specialises
in innovative thin-film coating technologies for the textile industry offered
to outdoor apparel, fashion and home textile markets. At the onset of the
pandemic, the business identified an opportunity to leverage its existing
proprietary coating technologies and developed a process to apply a thin-film
surface coating of copper onto textiles. The company has since shown efficacy
of its technology against viruses including SARS-CoV-2, influenza A virus
subtype H1N1, Human Coronavirus 229E and also bacteria including Staphylococcus
aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

“Studying
antiviral properties of materials and treatments like XViroblock is a key part
of our ongoing research that aids the fight against COVID-19,” said
Dr Julie McAuley, Senior Research Officer
at the Doherty Institute.
“Our experimentation proves the XViroblock
treated fabrics exhibit significant viricidal activity against SARS-CoV-2” Dr
McAuley added. 

“With XViroblock
technology, we can now start to consider surgical masks and gloves as not only
mechanical barriers, but as a tool to kill viruses and other infectious
pathogens quickly where minutes actually count,” concluded Hussey. 

XViroblock treated
textiles have also been tested by an independent ISO 17025 accredited
laboratory according to the ISO 18184 standard. Treated fabrics tested against
influenza A virus subtype H1N1 and Human Coronavirus 229E showing a reduction
of infectious virus present on the textiles of 99.95 and 99.9 per cent
respectively.

Xefco is
collaborating with HeiQ Materials AG, Switzerland, a global leader in
antimicrobial fabrics and textile chemicals to develop and manufacture
XViroblock materials. Xefco has a long-standing collaborative history with HeiQ
and is preparing to manufacture materials for use in Face Masks, PPE and other
other protective equipment.

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