Utah companies join forces to develop antimicrobial face masks to help prevent virus spread

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Two Utah companies will collaborate to develop what’s being called a safer and more effective consumer face mask.

O2TODAY, a Salt Lake City-based company that has designed and manufactured its proprietary face mask technology that helps reduce exposure to health threats is joining forces with SINTX, an OEM ceramics company that develops and commercializes silicon nitride for medical and non-medical applications.

Most recently SINTX announced results demonstrating how its unique grade of silicon nitride inactivates COVID-19, killing the virus with minutes of exposure and may decrease the risk of spreading the coronavirus on surfaces.

O2TODAY was attracted to the scientific evidence that SINTX has produced attesting to the antimicrobial properties of silicon nitride, the underlying mechanisms of antimicrobial action, and the known safety of SINTX’s silicon nitride as an FDA-cleared spinal implant.

The successful development of the face mask has the potential to help prevent further spread of respiratory diseases by catching and inactivating SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses and bacteria in the mask itself before they can enter into the human body.

Bruce Lorange, CEO of O2TODAY said, “With the outbreak of COVID-19, cloth masks and other face coverings have been widely adopted in response to a lack of supply of face masks with filters and certifications attesting to their effectiveness against viruses. By increasing the manufacture of surgical and respirator style masks with premium US-sourced advanced ceramic materials, we aim to make effective masks more readily available within the US to help reduce the spread of virus transmission and other airborne threats. The collaboration with SINTX is intended to develop and bring to market a much-needed product in the fight against COVID-19.”

With the input of external laboratories, the two companies plan to fund collaborative research and product development activities in Salt Lake City. Upon the joint development of an antimicrobial mask, the companies will enter a commercialization agreement under which O2TODAY will be the exclusive global distributor for face masks & replacement filters containing SINTX’s silicon nitride.

Dr. Sonny Bal, CEO, and President of SINTX Technologies said, “We are pleased to enter this joint development agreement with O2TODAY, toward developing a differentiated mask technology. The collaboration with O2TODAY is intended to directly apply our material science expertise toward new product development, and revenues – a very significant and exciting move for SINTX. We look forward to sharing more information on the testing, and distribution of face masks incorporating SINTX’s silicon nitride in the coming months.”

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Additional tests are underway at several U.S. research centers to further understand the isolation and optimization of the antiviral properties of silicon nitride; those results will be shared as they become available.

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