• Mon. Oct 3rd, 2022

Can Israeli start-up help stop coronavirus spread?


An Israeli start-up company hopes to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus by sending meters of anti-pathogen drug to face masks, hospital equipment and protective clothing to China, writes the Jerusalem Post.

-We are witnessing an epidemic and we can help prevent the virus from spreading, says Liat Goldhammer-Steinberg, Chief Technology Officer of Sonovia – an Israeli company whose technology is based on a sonochemical process developed at Bar -Ilan University.

Sonovia has developed an almost permanent ultrasonic textile treatment technology for mechanical impregnation of zinc oxide nanoparticles in textiles.

-Technology is based on the physical phenomenon of cavitation. Sound waves are used to physically add desired chemicals on top of the material’s structural area. Clinical trials have shown that the material’s antiviral and antibacterial properties are improved, explains Jason Migdal, head of the company’s development department.

Coronavirus has spread across China and on to other countries, including the United States and Australia. Israel is also examining patients who may be affected by the disease. Several people have died and thousands have been infected. Coronavirus causes serious respiratory problems, pneumonia, liver and kidney problems.

A few days ago, China’s National Health Commission reported that “Coronavirus’ ability to spread is increasing and the number of infected can continue to increase,” according to Reuters. Until a vaccine is found, more people will be at risk of becoming infected.

-We therefore want to accelerate the development of our technology to supply antiviral face masks and other hospital equipment, says Migdal.

-Antiviral protective equipment is inexpensive to produce, very durable, effective and sustainable. Therefore, it is crucial for combating the risk of infection and thus avoiding a pandemic, says Migdal.

Research published about the company highlights their product over other antimicrobial substances developed using, for example, silver which is effective but expensive.

Sonovia uses nanoparticles of metal oxide which are cost effective as well as zinc oxide and copper oxide which provides antibacterial protection. Research carried out with EU grants in collaboration with 16 partners from ten European countries has shown that the one-step process is effective. It was also found that substances impregnated with zinc and copper oxide had a high antibacterial activity – even after 100 wash cycles at 75 degrees / 65 wash cycles at 92 degrees.

According to Migdal, metallic nanoparticles have already been proposed as an effective agent against influenza viruses and studies of Sonovia’s textiles have shown that they are effective against multi – resistant bacteria.

Goldhammer-Steinberg said that although the company has not yet completed the commercialization process, they have enough fabric in stock to produce 5,000 to 10,000 stitches right away.

-The only thing holding us back is that we are a start-up company and need funds for our industrialization efforts, says Goldhammer-Steinberg.

-We can see that viruses are spreading and therefore we are willing to cooperate here and to be able to offer our technology faster than planned and stop the epidemic, says Goldhammer-Steinberg.

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