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Moving away from metal-based chemicals

New circular and biodegradable materials under development for antimicrobial coatings.

8th October 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Cheshire, United Kingdom

Protective, Medical/Hygiene

Cheshire, UK-based Virustatic has been awarded £150,000 in funding from the Business of Fashion, Textiles and Technology (BFTT) Creative R&D programme to develop a textile coating to replace the use of metal-based chemicals for the antimicrobial treatment of fabric and textiles.

Virustatic is most known for researching and developing materials and products for pandemic prevention, including the unique protein coating that features on the Virustatic Shield face covering. The company spent 12 years researching and developing materials for pandemic prevention, resulting in the breathable snood providing natural aerosol filtration and 360-degree protection

It is among only nine other UK companies who were successful from over 140 new applications for BFTT funding.

The money will fund the salary of sustainable chemist Dr Joseph Houghton, who has joined the 15-strong Virustatic team for 18 months.

 He will help to deliver project testing on new circular and biodegradable sustainable materials. The project also includes the development of a method of home coating for textiles and materials, including those in face coverings, so that the protein-based coating can be reapplied at home and the effective lifecycle of the face coverings extended.

“We are delighted with the BFTT’s recognition of our sustainability-driven textile coating, and the support and opportunity this award will bring,” said Lucy Hope, Virustatic’s development director. “We have already welcomed Dr Joseph Houghton to our team which will help us drive our project forward in partnership with experts at the University of Leeds and University of the Arts London (UAL).

“The R&D project will focus on developing our textile coating and is set to complete in February 2023. We will look to enhance the formulation of the coating so it can be used across a range of textiles, including home furnishings, or in collaboration with other fashion and accessories businesses, with ideas already underway for gloves and scarves.”

Virustatic will receive a comprehensive support package from the BFTT, including a part-time researcher to deliver the project, mentoring from leading academics in green chemistry and materials innovation, hands-on specialist creative and technical advice, as well as ongoing project management and strategic business support.

The awarded funding follows an already successful year for Virustatic with the business having secured three other UK-funded projects for its technology in 2021, including a previous £150,000 at the end of June from the National Biofilms Innovation Centre – NBIC.

“We look forward to shaping the future of the antimicrobial textiles sector in order to replace the use of harmful metal-based chemicals across the fashion and textile industry,” Hope said.

This new award brings the total investment by BFTT to approximately £2.8 million across 35 SMEs, with the creation of at least 20 new jobs.

“Small to medium enterprises are critical to the economy and to the creative sector in particular, making up over 95% of creative businesses in the UK,”  said Professor Jane Harris, BFTT programme director. “The BFTT R&D programme seeks to highlight the value and impact SMEs can have in our sector and on the economy, when provided with the right type of financial support and research expertise.” ”‹

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