Can Special Fabric Mask Zap Viruses? Exton Co. Says Yes

EXTON, PA — What if your face mask had a special fabric shield that could micro-zap viruses when they got it wet?

That is a layman's description of what the AVF Shield and Cartridge System does. The protection system uses a "patented electroceutical microcell technology that creates an electrical charge when wet, rendering viruses inactive," according to Ramshield, Inc. of Exton.

The AVF System™ for COVID-19 has not yet been evaluated by the FDA or other regulatory agencies, but the FDA has granted it Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), "for use as source control by the general public as well as by healthcare providers in healthcare settings to help prevent the spread of infection or illness during the COVID-19 pandemic," according to Ramshield Inc.'s website.

Ramshield Inc. states that research has shown the product "offers unprecedented two-way protection against Covid-19 and other microorganisms."

Last May, Indiana University of Pennsylvania researchers reported they had demonstrated "for the first time that coronaviruses are killed upon exposure to an electroceutical fabric." The IUP research team's report has not yet been peer-reviewed but can be accessed here.

Scientific American magazine reported in June 2020 on such research, explaining how related technology works. "When the electroceutical material is dry, it functions as an ordinary fabric. But if it gets dampened — say, with saliva, vapor from a coughed up droplet or other bodily fluids — ions in the liquid trigger an electrochemical reaction. The silver and zinc then generate a weak electric field that zaps pathogens on the surface," SA wrote.

Ramshield's online catalog webpage displays the face protection worn by models in Malvern and West Chester University team wear. The AVF system is made in the USA from locally-sourced materials, meeting Berry Amendment requirements, the company said.

The kit includes a mask, cartridge, filter, filter cover, two straps that configure three different strap styles; single, double, and earloop along with a carry/storage case.

The cartridge lasts up to 10-12 hours before needing to be recharged by resetting. Each cartridge lasts 90 days, according to Ramshield's website. Cartridge refills sell for $14.99.

The cartridges are manufactured in an FDA-inspected facility to medical device specifications and as such are marked with an expiration date, Partovi explained.

The AVF shields are designed to provide a comfortable seal and are intended for hours of comfortable use, the Ramshield site says. "The soft, foam seal is heat activated and melts to the face providing an air-tight but comfortable seal for hours," the product description reads.

The company says the shield can be used up to one year and easily washed with soap and water or in the dishwasher daily. Ramshield reminds buyers to replace the electroceutical cartridges every 90 days.

The company's website states the AVF System should not be used in place of a surgical mask or filtering facepiece respirators to provide protections such as liquid barrier protection, antimicrobial/antiviral protection, respiratory protection, particulate filtration, or protection in high-risk aerosol-generating procedures.

The product is tested under the American Society for Testing and Materials.

This article originally appeared on the West Chester Patch