Glaxo Smith-Kline goes behind the viral mask

ActiProtectThe British pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline has created an anti-virus face mask, new to the world markets this year. The FDA approved the masks, called ActiProtect, for sale to US health care workers as an “occupational use” product. GSK claims in its testing that ActiProtect kills 99.99 of viruses that make contact with the mask, dead within one minute. GSK uses the term “inactivated” for the virus particles. By most measures, viruses are not alive until they latch onto a host’s tissue.

Although H1N1 is among the viruses listed that ActiProtect’s coating kills, the 2009 strain hasn’t been included among those vulnerable to the mask. ActiProtect doesn’t include a drug in its manufacture, simply an antiviral inactivation coating on the surface of the FFP2 mask. The mask is a coated version of a protection mask that’s been in use in industry for years. GSK has a patent pending on ViruCoat, which covers the outer surface of the mask.

You can’t buy one of these unless you’re in the healthcare business today. GSK would like to change that to expand its sales, but the US FDA ruling stands in the way. You wouldn’t consider the masks attractive, but they might be effective. Or not, depending on how many flu viruses particles are in the air. Fashion? You may have wait awhile. In the world of Viral Times, the society wears SafeMasks designed by Hugo Boss and Cole Haan.

For a 2009 modeling session, you can watch an entertaining YouTube video of the ActiProtect masks. Somehow, a British voice doing the explanation and narration makes it all seem less dire.


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