For Immediate Release

Medline Introduces Nation’s First U.S. Antiviral Face Mask that Inactivates Flu Viruses

Curad® BioMask™ inactivates 99.99 percent of tested flu viruses

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Don’t let the unseasonably warm weather sweeping over the majority of the country fool you. The flu season is off to a very late start this year— the latest in 25 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To help combat the flu, Medline Industries, Inc., has introduced the first-ever FDA-cleared antiviral medical face mask that is shown to inactivate 99.99 percent of laboratory tested flu viruses, including pandemic and seasonal strains of influenza (flu) viruses such as H1N1, Bird flu and Swine flu.

Marketed under Medline’s Curad® brand, the Curad® BioMask™ is now available at major retail outlets throughout the country, including Walgreens®, Walmart®, Meijer®, Albertsons® and Winn-Dixie®. The BioMask™ is also available for health care facilities and medical staff throughout the country.

According to the CDC, flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. According to the CDC, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

Traditional face masks have remained virtually unchanged for the last several decades. Today’s masks generally only act as a filter and can end up being a reservoir for harmful pathogens due to active viruses exposed on the mask. Now for the first time, with the introduction of Medline’s Curad® Biomask™, a face mask can actually do more than just filter the air and can now inactivate harmful pathogens that land on both the outside and inside surfaces of mask.

The Curad® BioMask™ works by using a combination of citric acid, zinc and copper — all powerful but safe ingredients. A hydrophilic coating on the outside quickly wicks droplets into and away from the outer surface. Viruses are inactivated on this outer layer by exposure to citric acid, which creates a low pH environment. The droplet then lands on the mask’s inner blue layer where influenza viruses are inactivated by copper and zinc, which are toxic to pathogens.

“The key difference with the Curad® BioMask™ is that the BioMask™ inactivates several common strains of viruses when they come in contact with the mask while viruses that come in contact with standard masks are just filtered, which means they are still active and potentially infectious to the wearer and others,” said Frank Czajka, president of the Proxima Division at Medline. “Whether you are trying to stop from getting the flu or from sharing it with loved ones, you can feel confident of being protected with Medline’s Curad BioMask because it is the only mask available today that actively breaks down viruses.”

Another benefit of the Curad® BioMask™ is that it can minimize cross contamination. Commonly, the outer facing of the mask is frequently touched by the user, who then touches other things or people, but since the BioMask™ absorbs infectious droplets and inactivates 99.9 percent of tested flu viruses, the risk of spreading the virus is greatly reduced. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that usually lasts between two and seven days. People with the flu commonly exhibit some or all of these symptoms: fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. In some cases the flu can lead to complications such as pneumonia, sinus and ear infections, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions.

About Curad® BioMask™

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 strains, 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, hospitality and retail chains. Medline is also the exclusive health care distributor of the BioMask face masks in Canada and Europe. The BioMask™ surgical face masks are developed and manufactured by Filligent Limited based in Hong Kong.

About Medline

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.

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