This new clothing technology could inactivate Covid and other viral diseases
Perhaps now more than ever, we seem to be acutely aware of microbes’ abilities to infect, interact, and incubate all over the place. So, why don’t we more often consider all the microbes on our clothing?
Your clothes are, in fact, not sterile—there are many bacterial organisms attached to your clothing. Fortunately, the vast majority of these do absolutely no harm by being there or may even benefit you in microscopic ways. But other microbes—bacteria, viruses, prions, take your pick—could carry anything from a superficial skin infection to a life-threatening systemic disease.
Salt Lake City-based SINTX Technologies is laying the groundwork for a microscopic biomaterial capable of neutralizing some of these noxious organisms. As an equipment manufacturer (OEM) of advanced ceramic biomaterial, SINTX recently released new results on producing fabrics impregnated with its key material compound, silicon nitride, which may provide clothing with antipathogenic capabilities.
Some initial results of third-party testing of this technology showed the clothing’s ability to neutralize and inactivate Staphylococcus aureus, one of the key microbes responsible for a host of human infections. Silicon nitride is commonly used within the SINTX armamentarium as an osseointegrative bioactive ceramic implant base material. The company has several applications of the material across different areas of biomaterial manufacturing, including craniomaxillofacial reconstruction and hip/knee surgery. Silicon nitride is inherently antipathogenic in addition to its osseointegrative properties.
“The discovery of novel silicon nitride properties has enabled SINTX to provide differentiated products into an ever-expanding variety of market spaces,” says Dr. Ryan Bock, SINTX’s VP for Research and Development. Bock has supported the company for 13 years and has an extensive background in advanced ceramics, colloid and surface science, and biomaterials.
SINTX COO David O’Brien says he and his team are working full-steam to bring about the advancement of novel antimicrobial technologies in a broad range of applications. “With the resurgence of Covid and new variants, along with other new health threats continuing to surface, we believe the advanced technologies being developed by SINTX have the potential to help a large global population by simply enhancing basic, every day (household) materials,” he says.
It’s no surprise that SINTX is rolling out these broad-ranging goals for further material development, given the broad spectrum of microbes that are specifically neutralized with the active compounds embedded within the ceramic. This list includes bacteria such as MRSA, E. coli, S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, Enterococcus, P. gingivalis, and S. epidermidis, as well as viral microbes such as enterovirus, the common flu, and SARS-Cov-2, the causative agent of Covid.
One of SINTX’s leading products in this broad-spectrum approach is FleX-SNAP, which is developed from a powdered form of silicon nitride and can be used as an additive, coating, or composite to impart or enhance antipathogenic properties in products from masks to bandages. FleX-SNAP offers the antipathogenic properties of silicon nitride in a form that can be added to items such as textiles and surface coatings for resistance to bacterial colonization and the ability to inactivate various pathogens, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Perhaps with SINTX embedding its antipathogenic products into our clothing in the coming years, we will have more peace of mind as we hustle through the tumultuous, microbe-invested world around us.