New high-tech respirators a step closer to Australia

By Spencer Fowler Steen

New world-first respirators that capture and deactivate airborne viruses are a step closer to becoming a reality in Australia.

Murchison Medical Clinic practice manager Rachel Smith said she would soon have samples of the AirLock389 respirator, which has been developed in the United States.

“I’m hoping to get samples shipped to me as soon as the first lot comes from the factory in the Philippines,” she said.

“I’m hoping they can ship them to me by the end of the month.”

American company AirLock389 has developed purification technology based on the filtration system used on the International Space Station in collaboration with NASA and the US military.

AirLock389’s website claims the respirators are reusable and capture almost all airborne pathogens, bacteria and viruses to the limits of detection, or with almost 100 per cent efficiency.

“Engineered with needs of front-liners in mind, the Airlock AV-100 Reusable Mask provides superior protection, breathability, and long lasting comfort over any existing respirators,” the website reads.

Mrs Smith said the respirators had received emergency use authorisation in the United States and were awaiting final Food and Drug Administration approval.

After FDA approval, the respirators will be submitted for Therapeutic Goods Administration approval in Australia, before becoming available here.

Mrs Smith said the TGA allowed her to obtain samples without approval through an exemption for studies and tests.