Young Swiss tech companies join forces to provide treated facial masks


The HeiQ viroblock technology developed by the ETH Zurich spin-off HeiQ Materials is among the first textile technologies in the world to be proven effective in laboratory testing against SARS-CoV-2. Besides application by established companies such as Burberry, Lausanne based startup Red Lab is also relying on the technology for its 3D facial mask.



Reusable facial masks are trending and have become a modern textile accessory worldwide; however, not all masks offer effective protection. Zurich based HeiQ Materials specialising in textile products developed the HeiQ viroblock technology, an intelligent Swiss textile technology that is added to fabric during the final stage of the textile manufacturing process. The technology impregnates textiles with a combination of fat droplets and silver particles thereby inhibiting the growth and persistence of bacteria and enveloped viruses on textile surfaces.

The technology has been tested effective 99.99% in 30 minutes against SARS-CoV-2, making it the first textile technologies to in the world to be proven effective against the virus. The most prevalent application areas of the technology are facial masks, air filters, medical gowns, curtains, drapes, clothing, upholstery, mattresses and products of all fibre types.

HeiQ technology in strong demand

Alongside established companies such as the fashion brand Burberry that just launch facial masks treated with HeiQ Viroblock and UK based Coats, the world's leading thread manufacturer with US$1.4bn in revenues, HeiQ is also collaborating with startups. Most recently with Lausanne based RED LAB, a company co-founded by serial entrepreneur Nicolas Frey who already founded the sports company DAHU in 2009. RED LAB develops lifestyle products under the brand name REDFLAG, using 3D knitting, making it possible to manufacture products that ensure both maximum ergonomics and comfort while guaranteeing sustainable production.

RED LAB has decided to redirect the technical development of its products to the creation and production of a protective mask for the population, combining maximum protection and design. The 3D printed mask is made up of two washable and reusable elements: a mask and a filter, which are both treated with the active HeiQ Viroblock solution. Redflag has already launched the masks in the market.