New Zealand is known for a couple of things, green pastures, kiwis (fruit, animal, and people), as the location of the iconic Hobbiton featured in the Lord of the Rings series, and that sheep outnumber people 6 to 1.
In the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country will be known for another thing, wool face masks.
How Wool(d) Sheep Help Fight COVID-19?
As early as June, N.Z. has no active cases for the local transmission of the deadly virus.
Despite this fact, a local manufacturer has stepped up to address potential face mask shortage.
Lanaco developed a face mask that utilized wool, an abundant material in the country as a suitable substitute for the “melt-blown fabric” filter found in N95 and surgical masks.
Manufacturers of the melt-blown fabric had a hard time catching up with global demand for face masks because it is difficult and expensive to make.
The wool mask developed by Lanaco was launched yesterday in a Parliament function with Damien O’Connor, N.Z.’s Agriculture Minister.
Nick Davenport, Lanaco’s founder, and a sales and marketing director, shared that they had been working on a material that can help people combat air contaminants for years.
Davenport said that wool is good filtration material because it naturally deflects bacteria, and through further treatment, it can act as a filter to absorb toxins.
He said the wool masks have been certified by the New Zealand government, to be as effective as an N95 mask.
This means that the masks are PPE grade, and can greatly help frontline workers protect themselves.
Davenport shared that aside from internally protecting their citizens by establishing a reliable supply chain, they are also eyeing to protect their “pacific partners”.
The company is open to exporting the masks to help meet the growing demand for face masks.