Medline's BioMask Named Winner of 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards

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Medline's BioMask, the first-ever FDA-cleared antiviral, antimicrobial medical facemask, won the 2012 Chicago Innovation Award last night. The BioMask team is pictured (left to right): Charlie Mills, CEO of Medline, Brian Tompkins, senior product manager for Medline, Emily Goplen, associate product manager for Medline, Frank Czajka, president of Medline’s Proxima products division, John Marks, director of public relations for Medline, and Kai Deusch, CEO of Ionixx Technologies, Inc.

Medline Industries, Inc.’s BioMask™, the first-ever FDA-cleared antiviral, antimicrobial medical face mask that is shown to inactivate flu viruses, won the 2012 Chicago Innovation Award at a ceremony in Chicago last night featuring Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois governor Pat Quinn.

With the 2012-2013 flu season currently underway, Medline’s BioMask is a major breakthrough in protection especially for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, pregnant women and people with chronic illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 out of every 5 people in the United States today is affected by the flu and an average of 200,000 people are hospitalized each year with flu complications.

For the first time ever, this new face mask actually inactivates laboratory tested flu viruses, including imminent pandemic and seasonal strains of influenza (flu) viruses, such as H1N1, avian flu and swine flu. Traditional face masks act only as an air filter and do nothing to neutralize the harmful pathogens that remain active on the mask itself.

 “We are especially proud to receive this innovation award because BioMask has the potential to help protect health care workers, patients and vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with compromised immunities,” said Charlie Mills, Medline’s CEO.

Medline’s BioMask uses proprietary Ionixx™ technology that incorporates three natural and safe ingredients (citric acid, copper and zinc) to effectively inactivate viruses on the inside and outside surfaces of the mask within five minutes.  A hydrophilic coating on the outside quickly wicks droplets away from the surface while the low pH in citric acid begins to inactivate viruses on contact. The droplet then lands on the mask’s inner blue layer where any remaining viruses are inactivated by copper and zinc, which are toxic to pathogens.

The benefit of the BioMask is that it can provide protection from cross contamination. The outer facing of the mask is frequently touched by the user, who then touches other things or people. Since BioMask inactivates 99.99 percent of the tested flu viruses on five minutes contact, the risk of spreading the virus is greatly reduced.

“New products and services, like BioMask, brought to market in the Chicago region each year represent the most important economic engine driving the new economy,” says Thomas D. Kuczmarski, co-founder of the awards.  “The economy is challenging but each nominee believes the simple truth that a powerful new product will find a rewarding market and each has the courage to pursue their vision.”

Celebrating its 11th year, the Chicago Innovation Awards is the Chicago region’s foremost recognition of the most innovative new products or services brought to market or to public service each year.  Medline was named one of the 10 winners of the 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards out of nearly 400 nominees across all industries, sizes and sectors in the Chicago region. 

The BioMask was launched earlier this year under Medline’s Curad® brand name exclusively for the retail market. It is currently available at major retail chains, including Walgreens, Walmart, Meijer, Albertsons and Winn-Dixie. Medline’s BioMask is also available to medical and health care facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, surgery centers, physician offices and laboratories. 

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