Swiss specialty textile chemistry company HeiQ says its HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 is among the first textile technologies in the world to be proven effective against the virus that causes Covid-19.

HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 is a textile treatment for industrial use, designed to provide textiles with antiviral and antibacterial properties. The combination of silver antimicrobial technology and vesicle technology act to "rapidly destroy" enveloped viruses including coronaviruses. It has previously been tested against coronavirus 229E, another strain of virus in the coronavirus family.

The latest testing with the SARS-CoV-2 virus was conducted by researchers at the Doherty Institute, a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

The research project involved a disinfection test protocol that simulated the real-life interaction of small aerosol droplets contaminating clothing. A known concentration of SARS-CoV-2 virus was contacted with the sample fabric for 30 minutes followed by the measurement of remaining infectious SARS-CoV-2 viruses.

The fabric sample treated with HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 had no infective viruses left after 30 minutes. The result indicated a SARS-CoV-2 virus reduction of 99.99% relative to the inoculum control.

"The confirmation of antiviral activity of HeiQ Viroblock against SARS-CoV-2 is an important milestone. This data forms part of our ongoing efforts to help provide textiles with greater levels of protection against viruses and contribute to efforts towards mitigation of the global pandemic," says Carlo Centonze, Swiss co-founder and CEO of HeiQ Group.

Dr Julie McAuley, senior research officer at the Doherty Institute, adds: "A key part of the Institute's current Covid-19 research focus is on testing different ways to achieve an antiviral effect against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

"Testing the action of different disinfectants and surface treatments is one way that our research can help provide insights towards helping to stop the pandemic."

A number of technologies that can sanitise and disinfect garments and accessories have been launched in recent weeks to help address consumers' demand for safety, given the current health concerns in the world.

Finishing machinery maker Tonello has launched a range of technologies that can sanitise and disinfect garments and accessories, both during production and in the retail store, while denim finishing technology specialist Jeanologia has also developed a sanitisation box that it says is certified to eliminate the coronavirus from textiles, apparel and footwear.