Company unveils pathogen-killing mask

APRIL 21–TAIPEI–The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) reported yesterday the successful development of an “anti-virus” mask.

Cheng Wu-shun, director of ITRI’s Union Chemical Laboratories, made the announcement amid the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) which has made masks hot sellers.

Cheng noted that after two years of research, the institute has successfully developed an “anti-virus” mask, which he claimed can effectively fight against influenza, as well as enterovirus, the outbreak of which killed scores of patients in Taiwan in 1998.

The pathogen-killing “anti-virus” mask is expected to hit the market in one or two weeks at the earliest, Lo said, selling at a price that is somewhat higher than most masks on the market –just under $3.

Cheng also said that, at the request of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the institute has developed an anti-virus technology that can be applied to the use of masks and air filters.

The multi-purpose mask can fight against enterovirus type-71, influenza A-type and kill germs, Cheng said.

It is different from other kinds of masks in that it can take the initiative in attacking viruses and “deactivate” germs, in contrast with average masks which can only passively prevent viruses.

Lo Li-chin, director of “anti-virus” program, said that the researchers have used extract of safe Chinese medicine to serve as an anti-virus drug.

The ITRI recently demonstrated its new mask in Taipei. Lo said private businesses have contacted the institute expressing their interest in the technology.

As the institute has yet to transfer the technology to the private sector, Lo said that it is producing the cup-like mask to serve the public.


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