Israeli development: A facial mask that prevents the entry of any viral particle, and also enables sports activities. Target: Medical teams, but why only them?

New Israeli development: a unique facial mask that provides full-respiratory protection to all the teams at the forefront of the Corona virus.

About the Mask, ViriMASK™, we spoke with one of the developers of the mask, Prof. Noam Gavriely, former director of respiratory physiology at the Technion Medical Faculty.

Prof. Gavriely mentions that currently the market has two types of masks, “the paper mask we all use while in the vicinity of other people and the N-95 mask with the appearance of a cone, which is somewhat better than the paper mask. The N-95 mask is intended for areas with high exposure risk and it has so far been the “Best Available Technology”

However, according to Prof. Gavriely the N-95 suffers from several significant drawbacks, “it does not protect the eyes, does not completely seal around, and allows a 5 percent transition of airborne particles.” “It also does not protect from very small particles. It was designed for tuberculosis and is not virus-protecting,” he says, and when asked, what makes ViriMASK so effective against Corona Virus compared to N- 95 explains Prof. Gavriely:

“The material of N-95 blocks particles that are 0.3 in diameter which is good for bacteria. Larger particles will be stopped and retained by the mask. However, the corona size is 0.12 micron; too small to be blocked. Fortunately, most of the virus particles form larger droplets or particles relative to the 0.3, but aerosol with isolated small particles could penetrate and infect the user.

Another detail lacking in theN-95 Mask is the convenience, but this issue is not at the top of importance. “The goal is to give the best technology.” We wished to provide maximal possible protection for the medical teams at risk. We have developed the new mask that provides an answer to all these problems. It is air-tight around the face and fully protects the eyes. In the existing masks, particles can enter and depart around the edges because of the lack of sealing; the seal of the new mask is similar to diving masks or CBRN gas masks. The new mask has a filter that starts at a level of 0.1 microns. All these together provide a new standard with optimal protection. We also knew thatN-95 was uncomfortable and therefore designed the new mask so that it would be much easier to breathe through its filter.

And the cost of the new mask is not particularly high. “We did everything we could to save costs. “A mask costs 250 shekels to the individual buyer. The supply is almost immediate“, says Gavriely, and tells that each mask lasts 18 months and a five-filter chassis also costs 250 shekels when each mask comes with two filters. Each filter is good for 60 hours of use.

Currently, there is interest among hospitals in the center and north of Israel. Prof. Gavriely tells that there is high level of satisfaction among dentists who have acquired the mask, and also on the part of businessmen who have to air-travel and among people with underlying chronic diseases.

We asked whether it is wrong to designate the mask for any citizen in Israel and in fact allow the economy to be opened freely, and Prof. Gabriely replies that he “must agree”. There is no reason to designate such a mask only for physicians and medical personnel, but it is possible to extend the use to the entire population, thereby preventing the move of imposed closure for all or only older people.

Presently, he says, it is possible to provide ViriMASK™ to everyone in high risk. Three-minute explanation of the operation of the mask, this is all that is needed to start and use it thereby facilitating normal economic, social and cultural activity. A mask that can be used during eating has not yet been invented… In contrast, a substantial portion of sports activities can be performed when the gymnast wears the new mask.

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