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Antiviral Fabrics May Be Luxury Fashion’s Latest Hit

Antiviral Fabrics May Be Luxury Fashion’s Latest Hit

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The world has become used to wearing protective gear like masks and gloves to limit the chances of contacting COVID-19. To further combat the coronavirus, a leading Italian luxury manufacturer claims it has developed an antiviral fabric that is able to destroy the coronavirus before it makes its way into the body. Major luxury brands are making large orders for them.

Do clothes transmit coronavirus?

There is strong evidence that clothing is still a transmission route for viruses. Albini Group, which is popularly known as a dress shirt fabric supplier to luxury brands including Kering, Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna and Prada, has developed new ViroFormula fabrics, created in collaboration with Swiss textile innovation firm HeiQ.

‘Tests on a virus similar to COVID-19 called 229E proved the treated material can likely destroy coronaviruses a few minutes after contact.’

Albini is the first major luxury fashion company to work on something like this to combat coronavirus. Grado in India and Sonovia in Israel are among the firms now also marketing similar treatments for clothing.

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To make the antiviral fabric, chemicals are applied to the textiles during production in a process similar to waterproofing. Testing on COVID-19 is currently restricted. Tests on a virus similar to COVID-19 called 229E proved the treated material can likely destroy coronaviruses a few minutes after contact. Other strains should behave similarly, according to HeiQ.

Can antiviral fabrics prevent your chances of getting infected?

While the tests are proving that these treated materials can likely destroy coronaviruses a few minutes after contact, it isn’t exactly clear how this and other novel technologies such as antimicrobial surfaces can affect a person’s overall chances of catching the bug. 

“The fact that my travel suit is not just good for avoiding wrinkles, but also protects me from viruses… this is a feature that is very nice-to-have,” says Albini CEO, Fabio Tamburini. Tamburini believes that antiviral protection may become a regular feature on clothing in the coming decade.

With no certainty about when the coronavirus pandemic will end, many fashion brands are looking to join what could be a lucrative market in protective consumer fashion items. The use of such fabrics may become even more relevant in the production of antiviral face masks. The question however is, will the price of such masks be one the average person can afford?


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