The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has highlighted the crucial role played by medical protective clothing in ensuring the safety of health care workers, the patients they treat and the general public on a daily basis. Indeed, medical protective clothing and other items of personal protective equipment (PPE) are crucial to preventing the transmission of COVID-19 - a highly infectious disease that is spread by breathing in body fluids expelled from infected people as they cough, sneeze or speak. Global demand for medical protective clothing and PPE has surged to unprecedented levels and this has placed immense pressure on supply chains. One outcome is that nonwoven fabrics used in the manufacture of single-use protective items such as face masks and gowns are in exceptionally high demand. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted several of the industry's key players to innovate, and to boost supplies of fabrics used in the manufacture of medical protective clothing - including nonwovens. There has been a particular focus on the rapid development of antiviral finishes, and on the development of fabrics treated with such finishes for use in the manufacture of reusable medical protective clothing.
This report provides a wealth of information on the market for medical protective clothing and the latest innovations in this sector. Topics explored in the report include: purposes of medical protective clothing; types of medical protective clothing; essential properties of medical protective clothing; materials used in the manufacture of medical protective clothing; medical protective clothing and the prevention of cross-infection; standards for medical protective clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE); and the market for medical protective clothing with particular reference to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the market. Also, the report examines a variety of innovations in materials for medical protective clothing, it analyses some of the latest antiviral finishes for medical protective clothing, and it provides an outlook for the future.
3. PURPOSES OF MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
4. TYPES OF MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
- Surgical scrubs
- Non-surgical scrubs
- Full body suits
- Laboratory coats
- Accessories worn by health care workers
- Footwear covers
- Independent sleeves
- Safety glasses and face shields
- Surgical masks
- Disposable plastic aprons
- Scrub hats
5. ESSENTIAL PROPERTIES OF MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
- Barrier protection
- Antimicrobial properties
- Practical design
- Compatibility with other items of PPE
- Appropriate size and fit
- Ease of donning and removal
- Resistance to undesirable effects
- Resistance to linting
- Flame resistance
- Static resistance
- Stain resistance
- Wrinkle resistance
- Aesthetic appeal
- Colours used for medical protective clothing
- Patterns used for medical protective clothing
6. MATERIALS USED IN THE MANUFACTURE OF MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
- Single-use medical protective clothing
- Impact of single-use medical protective clothing items on the environment
- Reusable medical protective clothing
7. MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND THE PREVENTION OF CROSS-INFECTION
- Emergence of novel infections
- Health care associated infections (HCAIs)
- Potential of medical protective clothing to cause cross-infection
- Effect of laundering on the presence of microorganisms
8. STANDARDS FOR MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE) MARKET FOR MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
- Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on demand for personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Price increases and counterfeit products
- Key providers of medical protective apparel and materials used in the manufacture of medical protective apparel
- Challenges and opportunities
9. INNOVATIONS IN MATERIALS FOR MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
- Ahlstrom-Munksjö: Extia Protect, TrustShield, and ViroSēl fabrics
- Extia Protect
- Argar: AVirTex fabrics
- Ascend Performance Materials (Ascend): Acteev Protect
- Burlington: Isolite, Maxima, MaxPro and XALT fabrics
- Carrington Textiles (Carrington): antiviral and antibacterial fabrics for medical apparel and workwear
- DuPont: Tyvek 1222A fabric
- Milliken & Company (Milliken): Biosmart and Perimeter fabrics
- Suominen: Fibrella Shield
10 INNOVATIONS IN ANTIVIRAL FINISHES FOR MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
- HeiQ: HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03
- Polygiene: ViralOff
- Proneem: Viral Stop
- Rudolf Group: RUCO-BAC AGP
List of Tables
Table 1: Penetration of blood-borne pathogens through a substrate
Table 2: Seam constructions commonly used in medical protective clothing
Table 3: Comparison of the cost of using a reusable surgical gown with the cost of using a single-use surgical gown, 2020
Table 4: Selected standards used in the certification of medical protective apparel, personal protective equipment (PPE) and materials from which they are made by region or country, 2020
Table 5: USA: employment of physicians, registered nurses and respiratory therapists, May 2019
Table 6: Leading manufacturers of nonwovens for medical applications including medical protective clothing, May 2020
Table 7: Selected suppliers of medical protective clothing and personal protective equipment(PPE), May 2020
Table 8: Selected manufacturers of fabrics for reusable medical protective apparel products, May 2020
Table 9: Burlington: selected medical fabrics, 2020
Table 10: Milliken: water-resistance of Perimeter fabrics, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred innovation in fabrics with antiviral properties for medical protective clothing, according to a 48-page report in Issue 69 of Performance Apparel Markets from the global business information company Textiles Intelligence.
Medical protective clothing has long played a vital role in ensuring the safety of health care workers, the patients they treat and the general public. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the importance of medical protective clothing to the fore.
This is because medical protective clothing and other items of personal protective equipment (PPE) play a crucial role in preventing the spread of the disease.
COVID-19 can be caught by breathing in droplets of body fluids expelled from an infected person as he or she coughs, sneezes or speaks. It is also possible to catch COVID-19 by touching a surface that has been contaminated by droplets of body fluids landing on it and then touching the eyes, nose or mouth.
COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus, and so the rapid development of antiviral finishes and fabrics with antiviral properties has been seen as a priority by a number of the performance textile industry’s key players, including Ascend Performance Materials (Ascend), Carrington Textiles, HeiQ, Milliken & Company (Milliken), Polygiene, and Rudolf Group.
Such developments are now being used in the manufacture of a number of protective products such as face masks and reusable gowns, and it is hoped that these products will help to prevent the spread of the disease while also protecting health care workers as they treat COVID-19 patients.
However, the outbreak of COVID-19 has also presented significant challenges to suppliers of medical protective clothing and PPE.
Early in the pandemic, global demand for medical protective clothing and PPE was outstripping supply and shortages of single-use products such as face masks -- which are made from various materials, including nonwoven fabrics -- were particularly acute.
As Western countries attempted to stockpile PPE, their dependence on China for supplies was highlighted as a major concern.
In an attempt to overcome this issue, a number of nonwovens manufacturers have focused on “nearshoring” and invested in new production facilities in order to serve domestic markets.
Also, manufacturers of consumer products such as fashion apparel have responded to the call for medical protective clothing and PPE, and several have adapted their supply chains at an impressive speed in order to further boost supplies. Companies that have risen to the challenge include Burberry, Cone Denim, Fanatics, HanesBrands, Kontoor Brands, Nike and Prada.
Looking to the future, attention is being turned to the development of products that are made from environmentally sustainable materials. This has been highlighted as an area of concern because most single-use products, such as face masks, are made from materials incorporating synthetic fibres derived from petroleum products rather than fibres derived from renewable sources. Furthermore, most synthetic fibres are not biodegradable.
Meanwhile, demand for medical protective clothing and PPE will remain high for the duration of the pandemic. As yet, no effective treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 had been found and therefore medical protective clothing and PPE will continue to play a critical role in controlling the spread of the disease.
- Ascend Performance Materials (Ascend)
- Carrington Textiles (Carrington)
- DuPont Tyvek 1222A fabric
- Extia Protect
- Milliken & Company (Milliken)
- Rudolf Group