Livinguard – Not Just a Mask
Livinguard is a Swiss-based hygiene technology company working on a new method of making masks and other protective equipment safer through revolutionary, non-biocidal disinfecting treatments.
Around three years ago, people wearing protective masks were not often seen. After the outbreak of COVID-19, they have become mandatory in many environments. One company looking to further enhance the technology behind protective masks, gloves, functional apparel, other industrial and consumer hygiene products is Livinguard. Run by CEO Sanjeev Swamy, Livinguard is on a mission to protect the lives of 1 billion people by 2030.
With 22 granted patents and over 200 patent applications in the pipeline (including “textiles with anti-microbial properties” and “disinfectant composition for textile and related substrates”), Swamy and the team at Livinguard are hard at work building a new development, standing out from their competitors with their innovative approach.
The reason this is important is due to issues with some masks people choose to protect themselves. As Swamy explains “Masks can still have the infection on them several days after they have been used. Often chemical disinfectants such as chlorine are the only option.”
Other methods can include using UV or light. However, the problem is that this doesn’t permanently disinfect the material involved. He is also keen to stress “I am not against the use of chemical disinfectants, I just feel that they are excessively used.”
The difference with the Livinguard treatment is the use of a small electric charge, which can destroy 99.9 per cent of pathogens (microbes) such as viruses and bacteria. These include influenza and yellow fever viruses, SARS-CoV (including the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and its variants), tuberculosis, E. coli, staphylococci and salmonella. Not only does the Livinguard Technology help to protect the consumer, but it also helps to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. This process also means that items such as masks, shirts and gloves can be washable and reused.
Spreading the word
While it took time for people to get used to the idea of wearing masks, Swamy admits that further education is needed when it comes to being aware of using the right kind of mask and the importance of ensuring they are hygienic. “Education is an important part of what we have to do. The challenge is that we need people to understand and change their habits, as well as reducing resources and making our protection more sustainable.”
This is also important in terms of growing the business, as he goes on to explain “Using promotion and our website is one aspect of this in addition to building partnerships and more licensing agreements across the world.”
The company also faces some common misconceptions, as their products are referred to as a “cloth mask” which is not strictly true as Swamy refutes “Our masks provide the same level of protection as a surgical mask so it is wrong to simply call them a ‘cloth mask’.”
The right stuff
One key aspect to Livinguard’s progress as a hygiene technology company has been its success in attracting talent from around the world to develop its products. When Swamy talks of “cultural diversity” it is not in terms of representation or a box-ticking exercise but in the practical sense of widening the scope of ideas that people can bring to the table. “For us, a culturally diverse company means finding innovative people from around the world. However, it is not just about people with PhDs. While we want qualified people, we equally want people who are fired up when they are given a challenge.”
A global hygiene leader committed to sustainable causes, Livinguard has also been helping and empowering local communities in the face of the pandemic. As part of the Livinguard Cares campaign, local police forces, firefighters, shop owners, non-profit organisations and other front-line workers in Europe, Asia and the United States have been equipped for free with reusable Livinguard masks worth more than $150 million as a small gesture of gratitude for risking their health and being away from their loved ones.
This feeling of social responsibility is something that Swamy has previously attributed to his own childhood growing up in India “Having grown up and studied in India, the issues surrounding poverty and inequity were not foreign to me. After working for several years, gaining a foothold in the textile industry, I was finally in a position to contribute to do something about these issues. My real challenge was to use Livinguard to do good for the largest number of people, especially for those who need it the most.”
The New Normal?
As evidenced by 22 patents and over 200 patents waiting to be granted, Livinguard is looking to the future and how to address the issues in both their industry and for the world as a whole. Swamy is excited by the possibilities for the future, offering a wide range of possible applications to various diverse industries. This includes items such as Livinguard T-shirts, Polo shirts and a newly launched female hygiene pantyliner pad called Leaksafe. This is also the reason why the business is looking to further its connections with other companies around the world, offering the Livinguard Technology as part of a licensing deal to various applications, including air filtration, cleaning wipes, medical scrubs and more- always with the aim of improving the health and well-being of consumers.
There has been a lot of talk in recent times about “the new normal” and how people will have to adapt to the presence of COVID-19 and potential future variants while at the same time being able to live and work with (hopefully) minimal interruption once infection rates go down. As well as addressing our current reliance on disposable products is environmentally very damaging “roughly the equivalent of 36 million trees that could have been planted”, the company is keen to stress the importance of developing environmentally conscious solutions in health, water purification, menstrual hygiene and more. Swamy believes that this reliance on disposable masks is a challenge that his business needs to address. “We face hurdles educating people on how this type of technology works. People are not used to high-performance reusable masks” Swamy admits.
It is fair to say that what we define as normal may well be very different from how we viewed the world three years ago. People will have different views on what normal may be but there is hope that the innovations behind the work of companies such as Livinguard could help contribute to making that normal a better one- for both humans and the planet.