Israeli startup Sonovia’s anti-pathogen masks prove 99% efficacy in US

The tests were conducted at the Barr Brands International (BBI) Labs in North Carolina and completed in November. Barr Brands International is a company specialized in cleaning products.

Packaging of Israel's Sonovia Ltd's washable and reusable antiviral masks, which the company says can help stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is displayed along with the masks at the company laboratory, in Ramat Gan, Israel May 17, 2020.  (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Packaging of Israel's Sonovia Ltd's washable and reusable antiviral masks, which the company says can help stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is displayed along with the masks at the company laboratory, in Ramat Gan, Israel May 17, 2020.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Special anti-pathogen masks by Ramat Gan-based company Sonovia have displayed a very high level of efficacy in eliminating bacteria during a test conducted in a US lab.
In recent tests carried out in a laboratory in China, the washable and reusable masks – treated with a special agent – also demonstrated an ability to eliminate some 99% of novel coronavirus particles.
“Previously Sonovia products had been tested mostly in European-oriented laboratories under European testing standards for antimicrobial and antiviral efficacy,” Liat Goldhammer, chief technology officer at Sonovia, explained to The Jerusalem Post. “Recently however we started to perform the tests according to the US standards.”

Employees of Israel's Sonovia Ltd, makers of washable and reusable antiviral masks, which the company says can help stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), work at their laboratory in Ramat Gan, Israel May 17, 2020/ Amir Cohen/ReutersEmployees of Israel's Sonovia Ltd, makers of washable and reusable antiviral masks, which the company says can help stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), work at their laboratory in Ramat Gan, Israel May 17, 2020/ Amir Cohen/Reuters
The tests were conducted at the Barr Brands International Labs in North Carolina and completed in November. BBI is a company that specializes in cleaning products.
“We obtained very good results before and after multiple wash-cycles,” Goldhammer explained.
The masks were placed in sterile jars with two kinds of bacteria, the Klebsiella pneumoniae and the Staphylococcus aureus, which present different cell wall structures and therefore were considered good samples of larger families of bacteria.
The products were left to incubate for 24 hours. Non-treated masks also underwent the same process to serve as a control group.
At the end of the process, SonoMasks presented between 97.9 and 99.9 less microbial population than non-treated masks.
Goldhammer said that Sonovia regularly submits its products to different tests. Another test measuring their efficacy against COVID-19 in a European lab is underway. The endeavor is not academic-research-oriented.
“We want to ensure the quality of our products for our customers,” she explained.
Sonovia uses lower-cost, metal-oxide nanoparticles, including zinc oxide and copper oxide, to impart antibacterial protection.
The company started to sell its masks last April, as the coronavirus crisis began to soar.
“Our clients are mostly private individuals based in the US. Our masks are specifically designed to address the needs of the general public,” Goldhammer pointed out. She added that the fact that the product is washable and reusable makes it less suitable for medical centers, where disposable masks are employed.
Before the pandemic hit, Sonovia was a start-up company focusing on developing antimicrobial solutions for the textile industry to offer a greener alternative to the highly polluting chemicals commonly used to finish the products.
“We started to manufacture masks because we were approached by some Chinese clients back in January 2020,” Goldhammer told the Post. “We were already known in China because we had participated in some contests and won some prizes there. The Chinese were looking for solutions for protective masks to save lives. That was the point when we started to make use of some R & D fabrics we had. In the beginning, we just donated thousands of masks, to China and then all over the world, to health workers, volunteers and more. Soon, we realized that we had a marketable product.”
Since December 2020, Sonovia has been a publicly-traded company on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Furthermore, the Israeli fabric maker has attracted the cooperation of top brands such as Gucci, Chanel and Adidas, working on the Fashion for Good Plug and Play accelerator project – and earning a $250,000 investment for their innovation.
Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman and Zachary Keyser contributed to this report.