Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wakamono ‘anti-viral’ face masks set to join the Kingdom’s battle against Covid-19

Wakamono ‘anti-viral’ face masks set to join the Kingdom’s battle against Covid-19

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Wakamono ‘anti-viral’ face masks set to join the Kingdom’s battle against Covid-19

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Face masks designed to reduce viral transmission, offering another level of defence against the spread of Covid-19 – with “the ability to prevent viruses from entering the human body” – are making their entry into the Cambodian market.

Wakamono Corporation masks are in-built with a substance that traps viruses from passing through, preventing them from multiplying and eventually “killing” them, according to the company’s website.

Vietnam-based Wakamono produces high filtration masks embedded with a “gecide” fabric purporting strong antibacterial and antiviral properties – providing an extra weapon in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

The gecide fabric is a non-woven, anti-microbial material which can destroy the pathogenic bacteria that cause diseases in humans, the company stated.

The mask is imported by Anana Group and sold under the brand Faceline Cambodia.

“We donated 170,000 masks to the Ministry of Commerce and another 120,000 pieces to the Techo Young Volunteer Doctors Association in April.

“We also support Cambodia in fighting the Covid-19 by distributing masks to frontline health workers, police and military personnel, and those living in the red zone areas,” said Sok​ Channda, the co-owner of Anana and Faceline Cambodia.

According to Wakamono, the company has obtained US Food and Drugs Administration approval and the European Union’s CE conformity, with private testing bodies Pacific Bio Labs in the US, Canada’s Bureau Veritas and Germany’s TUV SUD also passing quality and safety certifications.

Approvals have in addition been obtained from private laboratories in India and Vietnam, while testing has also been successfully carried out in China, she added.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Wakamono conducted extensive testing that shows the masks can filter Covid-19 and kill the virus. Supplied

Anana has obtained approval from the Ministry of Commerce to sell the four-layered masks on the domestic market while it awaits the Ministry of Health’s consent, said Channda.

Covid-19 particles are estimated to be 0.12 microns, and having tested the filtration capacity as per PFE (particle filtration efficiency) tests of ASTM F2100 for an average particle size 0.1 μm (micrometres), the Wakamono mask blocks at least 98 per cent of very small (0.1 micron) tested particles, the company stated.

With a virus filtration efficiency of around 98 per cent against strains including the SARS-CoV-2 virus – which causes the Covid-19 coronavirus disease – the NL63 and 229E human coronaviruses, influenza A and H1N1, and poliovirus 1, the sub-micron particulate filtration efficiency is around 98 per cent, it added.

Researchers spent around a year developing the ultra-soft, easily breathable masks that have the ability to prevent viruses from entering the human body, Wakamono said. At present they are being sold across Asia and in other international markets.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Researchers spent nearly a year developing the mask. Supplied

Some of the other features of the masks include a nose bridge that prevents sliding and the fogging of eyewear, comfortable elastic ear bands and a fluid protection membrane layer, while high permeability prevents skin irritation.

And with safety now more important than ever, the new products are reasonably priced at $2 per box of 10 masks.

“During this time profit is only secondary – we see the need for providing better protective equipment to people as taking a much higher priority.

“Wakamono has been marketing this product globally and is confident that manufacturing can keep up with the demand, especially as Cambodia is very close [to Vietnam],” said Channda, who is also the president and CEO of Angkor Data Communications.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Wakamono masks are made using gecide fabric that offers strong protection. supplied

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