Pedestrians wearing face masks in Italy, which has witnessed a cluster outbreak of the coronavirus.

French fabric solution company Chargeurs Fashion Technologies and biotechnology firm Noble Biomaterials have joined forces to aid health-care industry workers with urgently needed personal protective equipment, in response to the coronavirus pandemic — and silver-based technology is its secret sauce.

Called a “strategic” collaboration, the partnership allows Chargeurs to swiftly manufacture PPE using Noble Biomaterials’ “X-Static,” a technology already used in infection-prevention textiles to reduce the growth of microbes, as well as protect “soft surfaces,” inclusive of lab coats, scrubs, privacy curtains and bedding, the company said.

X-Static is made by bonding high-purity silver to the surface of a polymer, which remains permanent for the product’s lifetime — and it’s Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified.

Noble Biomaterials has supplied advanced materials to the health-care market for decades, the firm explained, adding that it is a registered FDA medical device facility, a sole source technology supplier of medical components to the U.S. Military, and a U.S. EPA-registered antimicrobial manufacturer, with major global companies such as 3M, Systagenix and KCI relying on its products for medical market needs.

Jeff Keane, ceo of Noble Biomaterials, told WWD, “This is a collaboration that brings together the best of both companies — Chargeurs’ massive global reach and ability to pivot quickly to making products for the healthcare sector, and Noble’s proven antimicrobial technology. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of healthcare workers who are fighting this pandemic so bravely.”

Keane emphasized that X-Static is specialized for soft surfaces, making it an ideal match for the global needs.

“Multiple studies have shown that soft surfaces in the health-care and community environments are contaminated and that cross-contamination from soft surfaces occurs frequently. Our technology has been clinically proven to reduce microbes and protect the surface of textiles, and with Chargeurs we’ll be able to help provide more critical PPE to health-care employees around the globe. This is right in our wheelhouse — we’ve already begun prototyping these products, and we couldn’t be prouder to help in this worldwide fight.”

Chargeurs Face Mask

A Sustainable Face Mask by Chargeurs. Photo courtesy of Chargeurs. 

And Chargeurs, well-known for its niche in providing interlinings — or the technical components that give garments shape and structure — works with a slew of big name luxury and global brands. But now, its central focus is providing aid, and its transition was speedy and impressive.

Angela Chan, global managing director and president at Chargeurs, said, “We use only the best materials for the couture customers that we service out of our Paris manufacturing facility.”

“As we quickly pivot from fashion to health care in order to help alleviate the shortage around the globe, we also want to ensure we’re making products using the best materials available. Noble Biomaterials has long supplied critical antimicrobial components to the healthcare and military sectors, and we’re pleased to work with the company to make high-quality products for those on the frontline of the healthcare fight.”

The firm said that its France-based parent company, Chargeurs Group, has already begun to produce hydro-alcoholic solutions for healthcare professionals and mission-critical sectors, in addition to producing and importing protective masks in industrial quantities. Ambitiously, its goal is to produce more than one million face masks a week within the coming days, the company said.

Chargeurs added that its textile innovation laboratories in France, Asia and the U.S. will also be developing new prototypes of masks that can be produced en masse and “keep pace with changing needs over the long term.”

Chan told WWD, “We’re extremely proud to collaborate with Noble Biomaterials to create high-quality face masks that are also sustainable for the healthcare workers on the front lines of this COVID-19 battle. We’re innovating very quickly to help solve this global shortage of personal protective equipment, and by teaming up with Noble, we’ll be able to ensure we provide the healthcare industry with masks that use the best antimicrobial technology available.”

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