SonoMask Vs BioBlocX:
A Detailed Competitive Review of Two anti-viral, reusable face-masks

Adult SonoMask
Adult BioBlocX

Background on the global pandemic response

The rapid spread of COVID-19 took the world by storm and mobilized a number of start-up companies into the acceleration of novel defenses for specific infection control & detection  methods in united efforts to combat the novel Coronavirus:  Ranging all the way from new medical devices to pioneering antibody therapies.  Furthermore it caused established big businesses to alter their fundamental operations in response to the growing pandemic and deviations from consumer demands, such as leading automobile-manufactures producing ventilators and hospital equipment instead of car-parts.  Specifically, Israeli-based startup Sonovia Ltd., responded to the global challenge by utilising its globally patented, ultrasonic chemical processes that were developed at The prestigious Bar Ilan University.  This new mechanical solution was originally envisioned for sustainable textile applications and adapted in the shorter-term into actually producing the world’s first anti-microbial, reusable face masks:  https://www.jpost.com/health-science/israeli-startups-anti-pathogen-fabric-could-stop-spread-of-coronavirus-615476

Genesis of Novel Mask Technologies

 The ground-breaking achievement occurred via the rapid development and production of dedicated anti-viral chemistries that are permanently imbibed into the mask fabrics via Sonovia’s patented processes.  Thus, the SonoMask was born, with thousands now being made daily in Israel.  Similarly, Agraman technologies that focus upon an antimicrobial copper treatment of cotton fibers for usage in garment production, manufactured from their existing yardage a reusable face-mask known as BioBlocX in the initial quantity of around one million.  With more people than ever making the switch from daily disposable surgical masks due to concerns for personal and public health as well as the environment, new reusable, fabric-based alternatives with unique properties are highly sought after.  It is natural that there is therefore a calling for a particular comparison about how these two branded masks differ in their general properties and usage.  This article will focus upon the strengths of both, highlighting any key variations and ultimately assist in helping the consumer make an informed purchase decision for their own personal protective equipment.

 BioBlocXTM Reusable Face Мask is a multilayer cotton-based mask created and developed by Argaman Technologies Ltd.  The company has developed a process through which copper particles are embedded inside cotton fibers with future applications intended for the hospital and service environments through the production of gowns, uniforms and bedding from this treated fiber.  The COVID-19 face-mask response from Argaman incorporates two types of cotton technology to enhance user comfort and product performance, the first is a hypoallergenic outer layer (CottonX) with inbuilt odour control which is suggested to improve user contact, and the inner layer which consists of Agraman's active antimicrobial copper technology has been
successfully tested against different viruses but not SARS-COV2 (Covid19 virus) although it does not have FDA registration. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0011295

Theoretically for the coronavirus, the copper technologies work using a mechanism called metallo-protease in which positive ions from the copper attach themselves to the backbone of the virus, thus deactivating virus duplication.  The active materials in the mask is EPA registered (registration #91367-1) as a material preservative (i.e. it kills microbes on the material itself, but not necessarily as a public health device.

Company founder of Argaman Technologies, demonstrating how Copper particles affix to cotton fibers using the application

There is also a nano-membrane located at the most inner layer (RESPILON© nano fiber filter) for fine filtration however it undocumented as to what level this filtration occurs to.  Moreover incorporation of this layer greatly reduces the washing ability of the whole unit.  Indeed, Argaman also admit that this filtration is not upon the level of the size of the coronavirus (0.2-0.5 microns) and therefore it makes it certain that even when used properly, this mask would not block 100% of Coronavirus.

In summary the company state they are undergoing Covid-19 testing for viral-destroying ability and for filtration efficiency but currently yet no test results have been broadcasted upon this matter.  The other significant concern for the user is that this mask cannot be washed frequently or it appears it would lose its anti-viral/filtration abilities, indeed no laundry instructions are provided other than light sponging.  The company claims that the presence of "zero odors means the technology is actively working," however the consumer should be aware that this is a qualitative statement and not based upon numerical scientific data.  It is fact that bodily secretions and personal skin products build up over time on textiles that the wearer is in contact with.  It is currently unknown how such emollients may hinder the activity of any kind of anti-microbial defense technology should they be left to build up upon the mask surface indefinitely.

Production Differences

Argaman technologies, although ultrasound-based like Sonovia, have focused upon a very different threading process of sonication meaning that cotton-fiber treatment is implemented rather than upon pre-existing fabrics.  The main assumption therefore is that it provides fewer opportunities to customise the end product to suit its end-usage.  For example SonoMask, though its roll-roll system already uses a polyester-cotton blend which brings “the best of both worlds of textile,” and furthermore ensures the company is able to adapt its processes far quicker to future requirements than Argaman technologies would be able to.  This is because all Sonovia needs to do is change its substrate, whereas Argaman would need to modify its entire manufacturing sequence right from the fiber level and therefore makes it far less ready to adapt to any forthcoming public health updates by WHO or similar.

 Moreover Sonovia Ltd., has a global solution in mind for its PPE, this is because reusable, anti-viral face-masks that last over a year can go a long way in compensating for world-wide shortages of protective masks.  SonoMasks manufacturing process again has the advantage as roll-roll machinery application of pre-formed yardage enables daily a far greater yield of masks than the threading method.

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CTO of Sonovia Ltd., seen with Bruckner engineered Sonovia Apparatus, engineered for high-output sono-chemistry

SonoMask is everyday comfort and breathability supported by extensive anti-viral testing

In comparison, The SonoMask is an advanced-defense textile unit fashioned from highly versatile and “effective all-rounder” GSM cotton-polyester fabric, double layered and treated, filtering down to a lab-verified 5 microns (the statement held by WHO for barrier protection from COVID transmission through the spread of airborne droplets).  What makes this face-mask so unique is that it has undergone a patented sono-mechanical process using a new potent anti-viral formulation of Zinc oxide, that when mechanically infused by this method in textile, constantly produces a positive charge, almost like an electrical field that reacts with the air to produce molecules that destroy the virus’ membrane in a system which is continuously reproducing itself.  This reaction was affirmed by independent laboratory bodies to retain its antimicrobial activities against bacteria and fungi with log 5-7 reductions for over 65+ washes in academic literature;  “…sonochemically coated fabrics were washed 65 cycles in hospital washing machines (75 or 92 °C) and have shown excellent antimicrobial properties at the end of the process.” https://upcommons.upc.edu/bitstream/handle/2117/27155/Sonochemical%20Coating.pdf

Reused face-masks typically otherwise harbor these micro-organisms which can impact upon respiratory health.  As well as this, it has lab-verified anti-viral activity against COVID-19 meaning the fabric is able to destroy the virus it comes in contact with:

Proof lies only in rigorous scientific-testing

All of the anti-viral test studies implemented followed internationally regulated protocols (such as ISO 18184 ) in carefully chosen, independent laboratory testing facilities that are accredited to undertake the specified examinations.  Recently, Sonovia received the following test reports conducted by an independent tier one EU autorised laboratory (Hygcen of Austria), which showed that Sonomasks have a good anti-viral activity against an analogue for The SARS-COV2 virus (99.87%), indicating that they are able to provide enhanced protection for the user when compared to non-antiviral, disposable surgical as well as other types of fabric masks.

 In addition the Micro spectrum of Shanghai is certified by ISO/IEC 17025:2005 General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories (CNAS-CL01).  It is an internationally regulated lab, with the vital opportunity of having been able to perform advanced COVID-19 testing unique to this geographic location. The pinnacle result here against the SARS-COV2 showed over 90% reduction in the virus after 2 hours with just an early test fabric.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-israel-masks/israeli-mask-maker-sonovia-expects-99-coronavirus-success-after-lab-test-idUSKBN23T183

Which mask will fit me best?

Adult BioBlocX

SonoMask comes with more options for the user than BioBlocX.  The Argaman brand offers just two adjustable models, one for adults and one for youth; petite adults are encouraged to use the youth size.  In comparison, SonoMask offers ear-loop and head-strap designs for men, women and children under 12 years old, which are fully adjustable.  There is also the addition of a detachable, conforming nose-band attachment as standard.  This ensures not only that the product will fit almost anyone’s face securely, but when compared to other non-medical respirator face-masks causes it to become akin to The FIT test capability required by medical respirators, as well applied correctly there will be no visible gaps which unfiltered air could be directed to the mouth and nose through.  This face-mask is cleared for FDA Marketing under the non-medical use category due to the fact is washable and reusable for over a year and that its patented metallic nano-particle, similar to Agraman, is inherently regarded as GRASE by FDA: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfrl/rl.cfm?lid=680834&lpcd=QKR

Table of Comparision:  SonoMask Vs. BioBlocX

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A word upon recent WHO revisions

The World Health Organisation continue to advocate resolutely that the main spread of SARS-COV2 (COVID-19) is transmission through infective droplets produced when somebody coughs or sneezes.  These droplets emitted are typically of 5 microns and filtered by both masks.  The recent revision made by WHO however is that there are some inconclusive evidences that SARS-COV2 coronavirus MAY linger in aerosols under 5 microns, these are typically released when someone speaks, exhales or sings and may persist in the air in enclosed spaces and so in certain situations, possibly create a risk of covid-19 transmission between people.

https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/transmission-of-sars-cov-2-implications-for-infection-prevention-precautions

If this is the case, efficiency against avoid COVID-19 infection would be marginally reduced respectively using either mask.  SonoMask currently has several solutions to mobilize to enhance the filtering protection of the unit below 5 micron efficiency, should WHO conclude that this would required from their ongoing research on the pathogenesis of the disease. Nonetheless, as a precaution, it is still recommended to be good practice when using antiviral face-mask indoors with good room ventilation to ensure that any infective aerosols produced by asymtomatic people in a room would not be able to linger.  For known -susceptible persons and risk groups, it is also recommended that they limit time the time they spend in enclosed spaces with people they don't know.

Out of the two brands, SonoMask is lab-verified to destroy the Sars-Cov2 virus it comes in contact with regardless of the size of droplet. It should be noted that the only studies which have generated aerosols of infectious samples did so using high-powered jet nebulizers under controlled laboratory conditions. These studies found SARS-CoV-2 virus in air samples within aerosols for up to 16 hours.  These findings however were from experimentally induced aerosols that therefore do not reflect normal human cough conditions.

Additional Resources:

For further information upon how the differing masks compare regarding design and upon wearing, we recommend that you watch this experienced product tester’s comparison on Youtube as she tries out The SonoMask and BioBlocX:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJXW7smbD-A

Dr. Jason Migdal

Dr. Jason Migdal

MRes, Microbiology R&D Team of Sonovia Ltd.