As the coronavirus spreads rapidly across the nation, most of us are aware there’s a shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE), primarily face masks, for our health care professionals and first responders.
Four weeks ago, few Americans probably knew what “N95” referred to, but now we do. It’s the industry standard model face mask used throughout the medical world, and now in dangerously short supply.
Of course, that’s not the whole story, and the facts are even more disturbing.
The primary manufacturer of the N95 mask, widely know for manufacturing ear protection, has outsourced all of its manufacturing to China. The special “melt-blown” fabric used to make the masks has skyrocketed in price. It was originally chosen because it was low cost, at $6,000 per ton, but because of high demand, is now selling for ten times that.
However, the most disturbing fact about the N95 mask is not that it’s in short supply, or that the U.S. must depend on China to purchase it.
The most disturbing fact is the efficacy of the N95 material has not been tested against the coronavirus specifically. Read that again: there has been no testing of how well N95 masks protect against the virus.
N95 respirator masks are able to filter out most airborne particles down to 0.3 microns in diameter. When worn correctly, the N95 blocks out at least 95 percent of small particles – hence the name.
However, the coronavirus is smaller.
According to researchers, the smallest coronavirus particles measure between 0.06 and 0.14 microns, meaning the N95 mask still isn’t proper protection against the virus.
No validation has been published on the effectiveness of N95 masks in a hospital environment. And yet huge corporations are in bed with the Chinese government to produce more masks and make more billions.
And for our medical professionals, it’s like using condoms manufactured with tiny holes.
There is an alternative.
In partnership with Bella Canvas, Nine Line has designed a low-cost disposable containment mask which can be rapidly produced using existing equipment. We are currently working through FDA testing laboratories to evaluate the effectiveness of chemical solutions and additives impregnated in our multilayer material. Current testing demonstrates the potential of preventing the spread of the virus by 99.99 percent.
Nine Line is prepared to completely turn over our production and cut-and-sew capability to the manufacture of these masks at cost.
But there is no time to waste.
We need to be able to accelerate FDA testing for the effectiveness of our proprietary
And we need government funding to keep our 200 people employed so we can make this happen.
The country has never needed American ingenuity more than it does at this moment. Nine Line stands ready to serve.