Zodiac Clothing Company, one of India’s leading shirt makers, says its new Securo range of shirts is treated with a technology that has “99% eectiveness against bacteria & virus, including Covid-19”. The biochemical technology called VIROBLOCK is applied during the final stages of the fabric manufacturing process, giving it anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that “deactivate viruses upon contact with the fabric, helping to minimise potential retransmission through clothing.”

The treatment, the company says in a press release, is eective upto 30 machine washes. Zodiac, however, clarifies that, “It is important to mention here that this treatment is not a cure, nor does it guarantee a person wearing a Securo shirt will not get infected.” Viroblock NPJO3 is a technology developed by HeiQ, a 15-year-old Zurich based spin-o of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The company specialises in textile treatment related innovations, which it sells to apparel makers around the world. The clothing that use these technologies fall into the category of modern day textiles that are often characterised as performance fabrics, high-tech fabrics, intelligent fabrics etc. According to the company website, its past innovations include HeiQ Pure, a silver-based antimicrobial and odour control treatment, HeiQ Smart Temp, which is claimed to be the world’s first technology to deliver ‘instant and continuous cooling’ of fabrics when triggered by body heat, and many others.

Viroblock, it says, “is designed to inhibit the growth and persistence of bacteria and enveloped viruses on textile surfaces”. Its bio-chemical action comes from the combination of two of HeiQ’s own technologies: “Silver technology for antiviral and antibacterial eect, and vesicle technology as a booster”. Vesicles, according to biology dictionaries, are small structures found inside a cell that contains fluid and help in transport, buoyancy control, and enzyme storage. HeiQ explains Viroblock’s biochemical action thus: The silver technology attracts the oppositely-charged viruses, and binds it permanently to their sulphur groups. Subsequently, the fatty spherical vesicle technology (Liposomes) helps deplete the viral membrane of its cholesterol content in minutes, and therefore, the silver can destroy the virus rapidly.

The company says the technology was tested at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, Australia, which is attached to the University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital. The textiles processed using this technology, it says, can be used for the making of masks, air filters, medical gowns, curtains, drapes, clothing, upholstery, and mattresses. According to Zodiac, “Since the COVID pandemic is not likely to subside soon, the Securo brand of shirts is absolutely revolutionary as it gives the wearer an additional layer of protection, especially in situations where the wearer is in close proximity to others while at work, or during a commute.”