From Arvind Fashions to Peter England, apparel makers are betting on anti-viral fabric but they might not necessarily fend off COVID-19

From Arvind Fashions to Peter England, apparel makers are betting on anti-viral fabric but they might not necessarily fend off COVID-19
Peter England in Collaboration with HeiQ Switzerland Launches Innovative Antiviral Collection -2Peter England
  • From Arvind Fashions to most recently, Peter England, apparel makers are now betting on anti-viral fabric.
  • However, while it may seem attractive to consumers, its effectiveness in fending off COVID-19 has not yet been proved.
  • Smaller companies like Nirvana Being, denim fashion brand Freakins are selling anti-viral masks.
With the fear of the coronavirus pandemic still looming large, retailers and brands have been innovating to bring out new products which suit the ‘new normal’. From Arvind Fashions to Bhilwara-based Mayur Suiting and most recently, Peter England, apparel makers are now betting on anti-viral fabric.

Both Arvind and Peter England have partnered with the Switzerland-based HeiQ, a leader in the textile innovation sector, to bring out the anti-viral collections. HeiQ Viroblock claims to reduce viral infectivity by 99.99% and also says it is one of the first textile technologies in the world to claim such efficacy on SARS-CoV-2.

“HeiQ Viroblock is a special combination of our advanced silver and vesicle technology that has been proven effective against the human coronavirus 229E and SARS-CoV-2, causing Covid-19, with 99.99% reduction of virus in 30 minutes. It is a safe, hypoallergenic and patent pending technology,” said Carlo Centonze, CEO, HeiQ Group in a statement.

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However, while it may seem attractive to consumers, its effectiveness in fending off COVID-19 has not yet been proved. “Resistance to COVID-19 is yet to be assessed,” said a disclaimer by Peter England.

"The demand for textile with antimicrobial material has picked up in the market amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and these are being used to manufacture N95 masks, surgical masks, PPEs and food packaging bags. While its true efficacy in the long term is yet to be proven, however, in the short and medium term this trend will certainly be relevant to the manufacturers," said Pinakiranjan Mishra, Partner and Leader, Consumer Products and Retail, EY India.

But the big brands aren’t the only ones to begin marketing anti-viral fabrics. Smaller companies like Nirvana Being, denim fashion brand Freakins are selling anti-viral masks.

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“These facemasks are also treated with anti-viral nanotechnology that actively inhibits viruses and kills bacteria upon contact to the surface, but also minimizes the potential for re-transmission of pathogens from textiles to surface and is suitable for everyday use and retains its fundamental properties for up to 40 washes,” said a statement by Freakins.

Meanwhile, Nirvana Being said that their masks are viral filtration efficiency (VFE) is certified and tested by Nelson Labs, USA. "We also do not have any form of coating on our masks as coatings tend to disappear after one wash. All our products were created for the mass market after thorough research wherein the team realized that COVID-19 particles have a diameter of close to 0.12 microns, and standard media and HEPA filters, which are somewhat porous, cannot filter nano-particles smaller than 0.3 microns. Therefore, Nirvana Being developed a filter using nanotechnology to filter at 0.1 micron. In short, our masks are designed to filter particles which are even smaller than COVID-19 particles with high efficiency," Jai Dhar Gupta, founder and CEO, Nirvana Being told Business Insider.

But it is important to remember that they are not proven to be effective against COVID-19 and therefore, no matter what you are wearing, you can never be too safe.

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Update: The story was updated to add Nirvana Being's comments

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