New Zealand company Aviro develops world-first anti-COVID-19 clothing

A New Zealand company is producing world-first clothing effective against COVID-19.

What started as a solution for a woman working in rest homes during the lockdown has quickly developed from a dinner table discussion to a weapon in the fight against the virus.

COVID-19's invisible threat has paralysed the world. But brand new Kiwi company Aviro believes it has found a way to get things moving again while keeping people safe.

"Our main tagline is 'stop germs hitching a ride on your clothing'," Jamie Hunt says.

During the lockdown, Jamie's daughter Jess was working as a healthcare assistant in a rest home. One night over dinner, the pair were talking about the difficulties of her daily routine.

"Once I got home I'd have to go into the back door, put my scrubs and my normal clothes into the wash, disinfect my shoes, run to the shower and have a shower before I could even say hi to the family," Jess says.

Jamie has a successful career in the textile industry and believed he could use his experience working with Huffer and fitnesswear brand 2XU to come up with a groundbreaking clothing line.

Using his contacts, in just two months he was able to create a range of clothes and masks sprayed with a special virus-killing layer.

"We spent three or four weeks together formulating the right kind of fabric and then I spoke to my factories in Asia and worked out the best way to apply that chemical to the fabric," Jamie says.

The technology was first created in 2011 by Swiss company Hei-Q. It works to draw viruses to the surface and then breaks them open, destroying them in the process.

"The virus pops open, breaks up and gets destroyed very, very quickly," says HeiQ CEO Carlo Centonze.

The product has been tested at independent labs to prove the fabric lives up to the claim of being effective after 30 washes.

"All the way through you have to get certification. Even with that, some places around the world like the USA you have to have FDA approval so it's a very complex minefield when you get into this medical space," Jamie says.

Aviro officially launches online on Monday and with one large corporate client already locked in this start-up is confident they will do their bit to curb the spread of COVID-19.