GUELPH, Ont. — A surgical mask coated with a new material sourced from a mineral deposit in Northern Ontario has passed Health Canada testing requirements, and is expected to hit the market next month.
The four-ply mask is said to offer an additional layer of protection against COVID-19 as well as other bacterial and fungal pathogens.
It has a biocidal coating supplied by ZEN Graphene Solutions, which is headquartered in Thunder Bay and Guelph.
ZEN bills itself as a next-generation nanomaterials technology company, currently focused on commercializing its patent-pending graphene-based coating that's 99 per cent effective against harmful organisms.
The company owns the Albany Graphite Project, 70 kilometres northwest of Hearst.
Late last year it announced a collaboration with Trebor Rx Corp., which makes personal protective equipment and has production facilities in Collingwood and Edmonton.
The two companies jointly announced Wednesday that Trebor's new surgical mask has passed Health Canada's requirements as a Level 2 medical device.
Trebor intends to begin marketing the ZEN-coated masks immediately with products available next month, as both companies ramp up production to meet what their statement called "strong demand" for the product.
ZEN CEO Greg Fenton said that with the requisite approvals and safety data in place, the initial agreement with Trebor is poised to become a commercial reality.
Fenton added "Importantly, we bring a new innovative product with an added level of protection to our front-line workers and the public while setting the stage for what we believe is substantial growth potential."
George Irwin, the CEO for Trebor, described the four-ply mask as new, game-changing technology and "the disrupter" needed to get ahead of the COVID-19 virus and mutations.
Irwin said it shows that innovative technology is "alive and well in Canada".
A Letter of Intent signed last November also commits Trebor to buy ZEN's graphene-based coating for use with a new N95 respirator mask.