What is the Livinguard technology and how is it effective against viruses?
Livinguard treated materials continuously capture and destroy germs.
Step 1: Capture
Substrate materials such as textiles that are treated with Livinguard have ~24 billion charges per square centimeter. This is like a magnet for viruses and bacteria. The Livinguard treatment provides a positive “magnet” for the negative viruses and bacteria.
Upon contact, these microbes attach themselves to the textile. This step is called capture or “adsorption”.
Step 2: Destroy
The positively charged “magnet” is more powerful than the negative charge of the microbes. The microbes give up and explode. The bacterial and yeast cell walls and the viral protein capsids or envelopes are disrupted, and the now harmless insides leak out and disintegrate.
Step 3: Repeat
Once the microbes are destroyed, they have no charge left. They fall off or can be washed off. Once the space they occupied on the material opens up, the charges they attached to are freed. The material continues working with this revolutionary kill power of breadth (variety of germs), efficacy (number of germs), speed, and durability.
What’s the actual science behind the technology?
The principle underlying our technologies is the ability of polycationic surfaces to inactivate microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, and several types of fungi, and to do so without leaching.
This principle has been described in scientific literature for two decades, but its understanding and practical applications have been limited. Livinguard has leveraged this principle to invent and patent a paradigm shift from conventional approaches:
- Range of methods to bind a range of cationic compounds to textiles and other surfaces
- Portfolio of optimized chemistries to inactivate bacteria and viruses, without using traditional metal based antimicrobial agents like silver, copper, zinc, etc.
- Methods to combine these with other properties, such as water repellency, hydrophilicity, etc.
According to the scientific literature, it is probable that the inactivation mechanism of viruses is based on the distortion of the protein capsid by adsorption of negatively charged proteins to the positively charged surface, finally leading to the release of non-infectious RNA.
Tests have shown that after multiple rinses or washes, the treated material (specifically textiles as tested so far) maintains its properties without leaching. This lack of leaching is the underlying reason why the antimicrobial performance is so durable as well as why it is safe for skin contact.
How do you know that the Livinguard technology is effective against coronavirus?
We have various ranges of different solutions for different types of substrate materials and use cases. Our EFM-7 solution in combination with the fabrics that we use for face masks has been successfully tested against Human Coronavirus 229E, and relies on the same underlying technology that we use for our entire range of Antiviral Technologies.
The effect of this underlying technology is to capture and destroy coronaviruses that come in contact with the Livinguard treated fabric. When tested as per the ISO 18184 protocol, the EFM-7 solution in combination with the fabrics that we use for face masks (as well as a few more fabrics) demonstrated a > 99% reduction of Human Coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E).
The ISO 18184 protocol is the primary international standard for testing the antiviral properties of a textile. The researchers did not modify the protocol’s specifications of testing within 2 hours of contact (between the fabrics and the viruses) after washing the fabrics 10 times. The protocol requires testing within 2 hours because the speed of performance is critical, but 2 hours are needed to allow for enough inoculated viruses to come in contact with the fabrics. The protocol requires testing after 10 washes to ensure durability of performance and wash out any potential antiviral effect caused by chemical leaching.
In testing by different reputed independent labs for other applications and test protocols, our technology has demonstrated even stronger efficacy against different microorganisms within 5 minutes and after 50 washes. We are not aware of any reliable methods to test for efficacy faster than 5 minutes and have not tested beyond 50 washes. All claims made on any product are based on testing directly applicable to that product.
Who has tested this and how credible are they?
The ISO 18184 testing referenced above was conducted under the independent supervision of Dr. Charles Gerba at the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Arizona.
Dr. Gerba, who has been affectionately known as “Dr. Germ” for decades, has an international reputation for his methodologies for pathogen detection in water and food, pathogen occurrence in households, and risk assessment. He has authored several textbooks, more than 500 journal articles, and been featured on numerous television programs and magazines.
Why have you not tested on SARS-CoV-2, since that is the virus that actually causes the COVID-19 infection?
We conducted testing on Human Coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E) as it is widely accepted by the scientific community as a surrogate for SARS-CoV-2 and because SARS-CoV-2 wasn’t readily available for such testing.
We are conducting further testing on HCoV-229E as well as Feline Coronavirus (FCV), which is the other widely accepted surrogate for SARS-CoV-2. We are initiating testing against SARS-CoV-2 itself as well, and seeking more research partners who are able to reliably conduct such testing.
Is this certified?
There are no applicable certifications for the technology broadly, but please see our face masks page to learn about its certifications.
Does the use of the Livinguard face mask prevent COVID-19?
The textiles treated with Livinguard technology that are incorporated into Livinguard face masks have been scientifically tested to neutralize HCoV-229E, a generally accepted surrogate for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Based on its disinfecting effect on HCoV-229E, we are confident that the technology will disinfect the virus responsible for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). This protection is sustained through multiple uses and washes when used as recommended.
However, the use of a Livinguard face mask does not substitute the need for good personal hygiene as recommended by the applicable authorities and cannot prevent infection when not wearing the mask and instances where the virus may enter the respiratory tract through other means such as cross contamination through the concerned person’s hand.
How does the Livinguard face mask protect against coronavirus?
The Livinguard face mask offers multi-barrier protection to both the user as well as those around the user. Please see the ‘How it works’ section on our dedicated face mask page.
How much more effective is the Livinguard mask in protecting against coronavirus relative to a normal mask?
A conventional N95 mask filters droplets and particles that may carry coronavirus. The Livinguard mask uses such an industry standard filter as well, but offers additional protection by destroying >99% on each layer enveloping this filter. Further testing is still ongoing, but this implies a >99.99% inactivation beyond the standard filtration.
How safe is it to use a Livinguard face mask?
Nelson Labs has reviewed our documentation and has preliminarily concluded it should be safe for use during the crisis, and that Nelson Labs will be conducting additional testing to confirm its conclusions.
Is the Livinguard technology useful only for face masks?
No, we will shortly be launching comfortable washable reusable cotton gloves and wipes equipped with the same permanent self-disinfecting Antiviral Technology used in our face masks. Our technology is already in use in menstrual hygiene products, water filters, and bakery solutions, and in the commercial pilot stage for air conditioning filters. However, please note that our specific solutions vary, so efficacy against coronavirus in these solutions is not guaranteed.
We are in active discussions to license our technology to leading global brands across various consumer products, air purification solutions, healthcare & PPE products, and more as indicated on our homepage.