After MNC 3M, Pasture Pharma’s N95 mask is the only other mask to get FDA approval for public use during a pandemic, without users going through a fit test. Other N95 masks are recommended for occupational use in places like hospitals, as wearers need a fit test to ensure that the mask is the correct size and is worn properly. This ensures that no particles can enter or leak from the masks.
To gain the FDA accreditation, Pasture’s mask underwent tests on about 600 first-time users, and findings reported that most of them could achieve a proper fit just by following the instructions.
The company’s chief executive Lloyd Soong had been inspired to develop his mask after he helped deliver vaccines to hospitals during the 2003 Sars epidemic, and found the mask he wore uncomfortable and hard to breathe through. His mask uses technology that aligns the mask’s fibres, a technology he calls “Easy Breathe”.
Pasture Pharma has also developed another N95 mask called NT-V2, which is coated with nanoparticles that can neutralise viruses. It is being tested against H5N1 and H1N1 and has been put up for FDA approval. (EDB 15.07.09)