The Israeli-made ViriMASK against COVID-19. (Courtesy) (Courtesy)
The ViriMask

New made-in-Israel protection against coronavirus also protects the eyes, mouth and nose.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

A new Israeli-made mask that protects the wearer against COVID-19 looks like it is better than the N95-style mask as well as providing eye protection, conforming to the latest recommendations from the White House coronavirus task force.

An Israeli company has developed a new face mask for medical staff with a filter that lasts for 60 hours, allowing healthcare professionals to work continuously without having to stop to replace its filters.

The ViriMASK is manufactured by the Oneg HaKarmel company, located in the town of Tirat Carmel, just south of Haifa. Inventor Prof. Noam Gavriely says ViriMASK has better performance in several areas than the N95-type mask, which is currently considered one of the best standards.

“Today’s existing protection is not sufficient for the teams working at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus,” says Gavriely.

However, N95 and surgical masks cover only the mouth and nose. On Thursday, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said she now recommends the use of a face shield together with a mask to protect against COVID-19 infection.

“The mask protects others, to block those droplets and block that contamination that happens when you speak or sing or talk, or even breathe,” Birx told Fox News. “The thing about the face shields — we think that could protect the individuals and that it would decrease the ability for them to touch their eyes and spread the virus as well as those droplets coming towards them. So there are two different technologies for two different reasons.”

The new Israeli mask does both and has a replaceable filter that is good for up to 60 hours of use before it needs to be replaced.

Testing shows it provides more than 99% protection against the coronavirus, whereas the N95 standard provides only 95% protection. The Israeli mask also meets the new American standard to protect the eyes.

Oneg HaKarmel says their mask has only one third the airflow resistance compared to N95 masks, whose wearers can suffer from side effects, including headaches and shortness of breath. The ViriMASK developers say that users of their product do not suffer from such issues.

Some 10,000 masks are being made weekly. At $70 each with a pack of five replacement filters costing another $70, the company says there is already demand from Europe, North and South America, Australia, Africa and India and exports will begin in the near future.

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