By Tova Cohen
TEL AVIV (Reuters) - An Israeli company expects a fabric it has developed will be able to neutralise close to 99% of the coronavirus, even after being washed multiple times, following a successful lab test.
Sonovia's 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.
Tests in the Microspectrum (Weipu Jishu) lab in Shanghai had demonstrated that the washable fabric used in its masks neutralised more than 90% of the coronavirus to which it was exposed, Sonovia said on Monday.
Liat Goldhammer, Sonovia's chief technology officer, said that in the coming weeks the fabric, which can also be used in textiles for hospitals, protective equipment and clothing, will be able to neutralise almost 99% of the coronavirus.
Sonovia says its clients include German manufacturers Bruckner and Weber Ultrasonics, and hospitals in Germany and the United States.
It is conducting a pilot at Adler Plastic in Italy to use its fabric in vehicles and public transport and is selling its masks online to retail consumers.
The tests in China were performed in accordance with the international standard for determining anti-viral activity of textile products, Sonovia said in a statement.
They follow a test last month on the material at Austria's HygCen medical lab using the Vaccinia virus, which has similar properties to the SARS-COVID family, and showed "a good virucidal effect", according to the lab report.
Sonovia, which is planning to go public on Nasdaq this year, is also awaiting a "significant series of tests in a German government-certified laboratory," Goldhammer said.
Asaf Levy, Sonovia's vice president for sales and operations, said Ernst & Young is preparing a valuation and the company is talking with U.S. and Asian investors regarding participation in the planned stock market offering.
(Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Alexander Smith)