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High-Tech 'Smart' Face Mask Helps Hong Kong Families Combat Swine Flu

HONG KONG, July 6 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Beginning today, Hong Kong people and their children will have direct access to Filligent's patented anti- microbial face mask, the BioMask(TM). The revolutionary mask, which traps and kills germs like H1N1 upon contact, was launched at Asia's leading drugstore chain, Watsons, today. In addition, Hong Kong's biggest travel agency, Hong Thai, will be providing the BioMask(TM), on a complimentary basis, to all air travelers through the end of August. Up until now, the CE-certified, specialist mask has only been available to medical and healthcare professionals. The launch and availability of the BioMask(TM) in consumer retailers and service providers is significant because, as CEO Melissa Mowbray-d'Arbela says, "The BioMask(TM) is the first 'intelligent' face mask. You don't have to be a health care worker or medical professional to use it correctly. Instead, the mask is very easy to put on, wear and dispose of properly. Thus, it's one of the best forms of protection for ordinary people and their children during this year's swine flu crisis."

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Whereas ordinary surgical masks fit poorly with lots of leakage from the sides and become easily contaminated with live germs, the BioMask(TM) is easy to put on, fits securely and kills germs continuously. Unlike an ordinary mask, it is not covered with live germs when you take it off. Thus, the BioMask(TM) is great for kids who tend to touch and fidget with face masks.

The BioMask(TM) fits ages 5 years and older, making it an indispensable accessory for students this summer: Even if there's no school, parents can send their kids out to play, travel and congregate with others, safe in the knowledge that their child is wearing the most protective and comfortable face mask available today. As one Hong Kong mother put it, "I was worried that the kids would be cooped up all summer. Now, with the BioMask(TM), the kids can play with their friends. We're also thinking of taking that family vacation this summer. Air travel will be a lot safer if we wear BioMasks on the plane."

As for healthcare workers, the BioMask(TM) is also the superior mask. Not only does it use advanced technology to rapidly kill microbes, the BioMask(TM) is highly breathable and comfortable, especially when compared to the notoriously uncomfortable and clunky N95.

The BioMask(TM) is the first product in Filligent's revolutionary anti- microbial BioFriend(TM) personal care range to be launched at Watsons. Other BioFriend(TM) products, including a dry-sanitizing handkerchief (QuickCloth), adhesive dry-sanitizing stickers (QuickPatch), odour-control insole (BioSole), cosmetic puffs (BioPuff) and self-sanitizing cosmetic sponge (BioSponge), will be launched later this year. The innovative personal care line will also soon be available at Park 'n' Shops throughout Hong Kong.

The launch of the BioMask(TM) with two of Hong Kong's most trusted consumer brands is only the latest episode in Filligent's success story. Since its launch this Spring 2009, the BioMask(TM) has been purchased by national governments, NGOs and blue-chip private sector organizations. To date, the BioMask(TM) has been approved for sale in the European Community and Australia, having met or exceeded each territory's requirements for safety, design and efficacy. The successful commercial implantation of Filligent's patented BioFriend(TM) technology is a shining example of how a Hong Kong company can conquer international markets through pioneering technology, unique products and memorable brands.

About the BioMask

The BioMask(TM) is based on an "intelligent filtration" technology and is fabricated from a scientifically designed and tested multilayer material which has in its internal structure a unique active layer which has highly targeted anti-microbial properties. This active layer aggressively detects, traps, and then rapidly kills pathogens, within minutes of contact.

This patented BioFriend(TM) textile layer CAPTURES pathogens by mimicking the sites on human cells to which they normally attach, then quickly DESTROYS them by disrupting their surfaces (viruses) and cell walls (bacteria). Many viruses, including influenza viruses, are known to bind to a terminal sialic acid residue on the surface of the human cell membrane. The binding agent in the BioFriend(TM) textile mimics the binding action of sialic acid on influenza viruses.

Typical face masks (including standard surgical masks and N95s) do not kill airborne pathogens. They are based on a passive mechanical filtration design only. Thus, microbes on or inside the mask can stay alive for many hours, greatly increasing the likelihood of cross-contamination. When compared to the tight-fitting N95 face mask, the BioMask(TM) is far superior in terms of efficacy, comfort and breathability.

As part of the CE testing process, the BioMask(TM) was sprayed with live aerosolized Influenza A virus equivalent to 50 times the amount contained in a normal sneeze. (The H1N1 swine flu is a strain of the Influenza A virus.) More than 99.9% of the viruses were killed after less than one minute. Similar tests were conducted on other key pathogens, with similar results. When the BioMask(TM) was tested in terms of all the major routes of exposure, oral, dermal and inhalation, it showed no harmful effects on humans. The BioMask(TM) has been tested for dermal biocompatibility following internationally recognized standards set out in ISO10933: Biological Evaluation of Medical Devices. Tests were conducted to evaluate cytotoxicity to cells, skin irritation on contact, and skin sensitization after repeated contact. No cytotoxicity, irritation or incidence of sensitization was observed.

By complying with the European Community's Medical Devices Directive 93/42/EEC, Filligent has met the stringent EU requirements for design, efficacy and safety of its innovative, germ-killing BioMask(TM). The BioMask is also TGA-certified, meaning it has met or exceeded similar requirements in Australia.

About BioFriend(TM)

In 2008, Filligent developed a revolutionary technology, called BioFriend(TM), which kills viruses and bacteria on contact. BioFriend's molecular technology can be applied to substrates such as rayon and cotton textile fiber. BioFriend(TM) captures pathogens by mimicking the sites on human cells to which they normally attach, then, destroys them by disrupting their surfaces (viruses) and cell walls (bacteria). BioFriend(TM) kills germs including those that cause Influenza A (including pandemic strains such as H1N1), Herpes Simplex, rhinovirus, common colds, measles, pneumonia, SARS, tuberculosis, streptococcus, and MRSA. By targeting only the dangerous elements, BioFriend's intelligent filtration technology optimizes breathability and comfort. With its ability to kill a broad range of microbes, while applied to various substrates, BioFriend(TM) naturally lends itself to wide application across consumer products. BioFriend(TM) not only contains and protects against infection, but keeps items of everyday personal use, prone to bacterial and viral contamination, safe and clean.

About Filligent

Filligent is a Hong Kong biotech company that develops advanced and affordable 'intelligent filtration' technologies designed to combat the transmission of diseases. Using biochemistry at the molecular level, its proprietary technologies seek out dangerous pathogens and chemicals, from air, water, and from off surfaces - including the human skin, killing or inactivating them before they enter the human body. Filligent provides ordinary people with affordable and advanced protective devices against infectious or other diseases. Filligent gives people Health Choices.

    For more information, contact:

     Ms. Joanne Ooi
     Chief Marketing Officer
     Filligent Limited
     Tel:   +852-2542-2400

SOURCE Filligent
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