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Friday, July 24

H1N1 Swine Flu: Filligent's BioMask goes on sale in Europe (REVISED 6:00 PM ET)

Reference my July 21 post Filligent's BioMask can stop a pandemic. It's now for sale in Hong Kong. So when can you buy it at your local drugstore?

Without going into gory detail or flinging around blame, I'll just note that the original version of this post contained information that reflected, shall we say, a breakdown in communication regarding some information about the Filligent Europe company.

However, the Filligent Europe website still shows that they are taking orders for the Filligent BioMask™ and other pandemic-fighting products made with Filligent's patented BioFriend™ technology. (To the best of my knowledge they will only be able to fill orders in Europe.)

Now to rescue what I can of the original version of this post.

I want to start by showing you what the Filligent BioMask™ looks like because there are lots of different pictures of "biomasks" on the internet, and one of them looks like something out of a horror movie. Here is the BioMask™:


Don't be fooled by imitations; there is only one BioMask™, which as you can see is a trademarked name.

Visit the Filligent Europe web site for information on ordering the BioMask/BioFriend products. And here's the link to the Filligent site.

I note from their website that Filligent Europe is set up to accept small orders for the mask in addition to large ones. The company is also selling the "QuickCloth." How cool is this?
Tuck the BioFriend™ QuickCloth into your purse or pocket and keep your hands clean without soap, gel or water! Dry-sanitize your or your child’s) hands by rubbing them with the QuickCloth. BioFriend’s revolutionary, patented technology traps and kills bacteria and viruses on contact:

> Lifts off and kills harmful germs
> DRY sanitization
> Reusable
> Convenient
> Save water! Save paper!
> Great for kids
> Self-sanitizing

BioFriend™ traps microbes by mimicking the sites on human cells to which they normally attach, then,destroys them by disrupting their surfaces (viruses) and cell walls (bacteria).

Kills germs including the superbug MRSA plus those that cause gastroenteritis, herpes, Influenza A, Bird Flu, common colds, measles, SARS and tuberculosis.

Hand wash only. Replace after one month of active use.
Filligent Europe is offering other products based on the BioFriend technology. The QuickPatch looks interesting, especially for small children, who tend to lose things like cloths. I guess you just slap a couple patches on their arms or clothing when they go out, and they can rub their hands on the patch to clean them. But I love the thought of that hand cloth because I'm really tired of using the gel sanitizers.

Meanwhile:
July 23 (Bloomberg)

[...] 3M’s safety unit benefited from a “tremendous sequential surge” in demand for the masks last quarter because of the spread of H1N1, also known as swine flu, Chief Financial Officer Patrick Campbell said today on a conference call with analysts and investors. The investment will boost mask capacity worldwide by 10 percent."

“We are going to have some sustainable growth that comes from H1N1,” Chief Executive Officer George Buckley said on the call. Demand for the protection is “huge,” he said.

Masks to protect against the H1N1 influenza virus are on back-order through 2009, Buckley said. 3M and Kimberly-Clark Corp. are among the few manufacturers that make respiratory masks sophisticated enough to ward off swine flu, exacerbating shortages. Only masks rated N95 or above, which can filter at least 95 percent of airborne particles, are effective at blocking the virus, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
I'm happy for 3M's bottom line but the problem is that the masks they make for commercial use, including masks rated N95 or above, are not efficient at fighting a pandemic virus (i.e., a highly infectious influenza virus). It's the same for all the other masks, with the exception of the BioMask™. From the Filligent website: [...]
Typical face masks (including standard surgical masks and N95s) do not kill airborne pathogens. They are based on a passive mechanical filtration design only. Thus, microbes on or inside the mask can stay alive for many hours, greatly increasing the likelihood of cross-contamination. When compared to the tight-fitting N95 face mask, the BioMask™ is far superior in terms of efficacy, comfort and breathability.[...]
See the website for lots more information on why the mask is special -- and right on time to fight a pandemic.Meanwhile:
(July 24 Wall Street Journal) - Global health officials are scrambling to try to prevent the spread of the H1N1 swine flu virus, with U.S. officials moving Thursday with a recommendation that the Food and Drug Administration approve or license a vaccine.

[...]

In the U.S., a federal advisory panel said the FDA should move ahead to approve or license the new H1N1 vaccine without waiting to receive data from clinical trials to test its safety and efficacy. The government and vaccine makers plan to start human studies of the H1N1 vaccine in the U.S. in the coming weeks, but the first-look data from those studies won't be given to the FDA until September.

Each year the FDA approves seasonal vaccines based on strain changes without new human studies. The agency does test the vaccines for potency and also monitors vaccine safety on a continuous basis.

"I think this is an entirely appropriate way of proceeding and in the public health's best interest considering that schools will be opening in a month," said John Modlin, the panel chair and a professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Health officials health officials said Thursday they have purchased enough bulk ingredients to produce 195 million doses of swine flu vaccine, and expect to make up to 100 million doses available in October, even though the vaccine is proving difficult to manufacture. Federal officials told the FDA panel Thursday that four companies making H1N1 vaccines -- Sanofi Aventis, Novartis AG, GlaxoSmithKline PLC and CSL Ltd. -- said the viruses used to make the active ingredient are producing yields of just 30% of what's typically seen with seasonal vaccines.

The new H1N1 shots would be for a vaccination campaign that potentially would be targeted first at school-age children, who along with young adults have been hit hard by the new flu strain. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine advisory panel will meet next week to make recommendations about such a vaccination campaign.

Anthony Fiore, of the CDC's influenza division, said the agency is anticipating that two doses of an H1N1 vaccine would be needed. That limits the number of people at high risk for flu who would be able to get the shots in the early fall, although health officials are hoping that clinical study data will show that one dose is enough to protect some people. It will take until March to obtain enough doses for the entire U.S. population of just over 300 million people, officials predicted. [...]
RBO blog's Swine Flu Reader has links to all my posts on swine flu since April, and which have been crossposted there with illustrations provided by RBO.
Comments:
Fortunately in Estonia things seems to be fine...should we expect something to happen in winter??
 
I am glad to hear that swine flu has not made inroads in Estonia!

In general, the countries that have been hit hardest in this first pass of the flu around the globe are those that see heavy international air traffic.

But a true pandemic virus, which the 2009 swine flu seems to be, will eventually spread to every country.

The hope is that a good vaccine will help brake the spread of the pandemic and that the virus will mutate to a less lethal strain before winter comes in the Northern Hemisphere.

But how big the outbreak will be in each country depends in great measure on how well the government and citizenry respond to the threat. So, "Be Prepared" is the best course.
 
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