Ann Fahey-Widman, APR
Vice President, Corporate Communications
With the latest flu season currently underway, health care workers can now benefit from a major breakthrough. Medline's BioMask™, the first-ever FDA cleared antiviral, antimicrobial medical face mask that is shown to inactivate 99.99 percent of laboratory tested flu viruses, was introduced to the health care community today at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control's (APIC) 39th Annual Educational Conference & International Meeting held in San Antonio, Texas.
This first-of-its-kind product marks the first true innovation in face masks in several decades. Traditional face masks act only as an air filter and do nothing to neutralize the harmful pathogens that remain active on the mask itself. In addition to filtering the air, Medline's BioMask inactivates harmful pathogens, including imminent pandemic and seasonal strains of influenza (flu) viruses, such as H1N1, Avian flu and Swine flu that land on both the outside and inside surfaces of mask.
"With the flu season still underway, BioMask can protect health care workers from exposure to many flu viruses or from sharing these viruses with their patients," said Frank Czajka, president of the Proxima Division at Medline. The BioMask works by using a combination of citric acid, zinc and copper — all natural and safe ingredients. A hydrophilic coating on the outside quickly wicks droplets away from the surface while the low pH in citric acid begins to inactivate viruses on contact. The droplet then lands on the mask's inner blue layer where any remaining viruses are inactivated by copper and zinc, which are toxic to pathogens.
The benefit of the BioMask is that it can provide protection from cross contamination. The outer facing of the mask is frequently touched by the user, who then touches other things or people. Since BioMask inactivates 99.9 percent of the tested flu viruses on five minutes contact, the risk of spreading the virus is greatly reduced.
The BioMask was launched earlier this year under Medline's Curad® brand name exclusively for the retail market. It is currently available at major retail chains, including Wallgreens, Walmart, Meijer, Albertsons and Winn-Dixie. Now, for the first time, BioMask is available to medical and health care facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, surgery centers, physician offices and laboratories.
In independent laboratory (in vitro) tests, the Curad® BioMask™ inactivates 99.99 percent of tested influenza viruses upon five minutes contact with the surface of the facemask against the following influenza viruses: influenza A subtypes and strains, H1N1, H3N2, H2N2; avian flu subtypes H5N1, H9N2, H5N2; swine flu subtype H1N1; equine flu subtype H3N8; and Influenza B, under tested contact conditions.
Mundelein, Illinois-based Medline is the exclusive distributor of the BioMask™ in the United States to hospitals, nursing homes, surgery centers, and hospitality and retail chains. Medline is also the exclusive health care distributor of the BioMask face masks in Canada and Europe. BioMask™ surgical face masks are developed and manufactured by Filligent Limited based in Hong Kong.
As the nation's largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of health care and surgical products, Medline manufactures and distributes more than 350,000 products to hospitals, extended care facilities, surgery centers, physician offices, home care providers and agencies, and retailers. Recently named one of the nation’s "Best and Brightest Companies to Work for,” Medline is headquartered in Mundelein, Ill. and has more than 1,100 dedicated sales representatives nationwide to support its broad product line and cost management services.
Over the past five years, Medline has been the fastest-growing distributor of medical and surgical supplies in the U.S., serving as the primary distributor to over 450 major hospitals and healthcare systems. As a leading distributor, Medline offers a comprehensive array of consulting and management services encompassing the supply chain and logistics, utilization and standardization, business tools and enhanced reporting capabilities and on-staff clinicians.
Medline has a growing network of 50 manufacturing and distribution centers worldwide, as well as an expanding, dedicated transportation fleet with over 200 vehicles in a variety of sizes to fit customers' specific delivery needs. The fleet is equipped with the latest navigation devices for enhanced order tracking and communication.