How Effective is the AB Mask Plus?
The AB Mask Plus is our bestselling, reusable, antiviral face mask with seven layers and filter protection. It was devised before the pandemic to be an antibacterial mask, but when COVID-19 hit, we immediately set about working on an antiviral version to help with confidence, peace of mind and ultimately, protection.
What makes the AB Mask antiviral?
AB Mask Plus comprises seven layers, with two layers of antiviral protected fabric and a five layer replaceable filter. The antiviral protection comes from a specially developed coating used, called Polygiene® ViralOff®, which is applied to breathable soft fabric that is washable. It has Bacterial Filter Efficiency >98% tested in accordance with EN14683:2019. Each filter should be effective for up to 40 hours of use, however, filter longevity depends on the intensity of the particulate matter in the environment. With that in mind, we recommend that the filter is replaced at the time of washing the mask or before if it becomes harder to draw breath. It has been tested on a number of respiratory viruses, including SARS-CoV-2 and while it cannot promise immunity, owing to the variety of ways these viruses can be transmitted, it can deliver a crucial reduction in viral load.
How was the AB Mask tested?
We worked with an imaging specialist at the Sanderson Fluids Lab at the University of Edinburgh to undertake specialist, third party analysis of the AB Mask Plus - and its performance in relation to other face coverings - using advanced imaging techniques and technology.
As well as treating the fabric with the Polygiene® ViralOff®, we also wanted to test the AB mask Plus against other face masks to measure the flow patterns (of breathing, coughing) when wearing a face covering.
We trialled eight masks, ranging from the commonly used blue disposables, through to single layer, double layer and surgical. The masks were trialled on a mannequin positioned and filmed at both a front and side elevation, so that the cameras/imaging equipment could monitor air flow exiting through and around the mask(s) when the breath or cough simulation was activated. A limited number of human trials were also carried out as part of this research.
How did the AB Mask fare?
The AB Mask Plus tested very well in comparison to many other commonly used face coverings. The trials found that with a surgical mask, the ‘front throughflow’ of air could still travel more than 475mm. The AB Mask Plus, with its seven layer protection, for both breathing and coughing meant in the same conditions the air couldn’t go further than 8mm.
You won’t be surprised to hear that the masks with multi-layer protection fared better when looking for a face covering that more appropriately limited coughing or breath. This does not mean the person wearing one of these feels stifled, it means the ability of the mask to keep in droplets and aerosols is reduced.
Coupling these results with the fact the AB Mask Plus also benefits from antiviral technology, and the environmental benefits of safely reusing a mask as opposed to single-use options make it a great addition to a user’s daily life - now and into the future.
Do I still need a mask even though I have been vaccinated?
The UK’s impressive vaccination programme has started a new conversation about mask-wearing, as those already protected are wondering why they need a mask after their vaccines? Well, the simple fact is, despite being incredibly good at protecting you from serious illness and death, none of the vaccines are 100% effective in stopping you from contracting, and or spreading COVID-19. This means, even with both vaccines, you could contract the virus, with or without some (milder) symptoms and pass it on to others - so people are still vulnerable, especially at this stage, when vaccinations are ongoing.
What are the other benefits of a face mask with a filter?
There is a case to be made for wider-spread mask wearing as part of our lives for the simple benefits it can bring for other reasons such as:
- Less other common ailments like colds and coughs
- Masks can be used as an allergy aid, especially reusable face masks with filters
- Confidence - not everyone will come out of the pandemic feeling completely secure and confident, so mask wearing, now it is more common, may act as defence against some health-related anxieties moving forward.
It’s estimated that approximately 129 billion single use masks are being put into the environment every month; with mask-wearing here to stay, we all need to do our part to minimise this problem and either recycle our masks, at a scheme like the one Wilko stores are now running, or invest in a reusable face mask, like our antiviral, reusable face mask with filter, the AB Mask Plus.