Medline's BioMask(TM) Named One of Chicagoland's Greatest Innovations

First FDA-Cleared Antimicrobial Face Mask Named Winner of 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards

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| Source: Medline

MUNDELEIN, Ill., Oct. 23, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Medline Industries, Inc.'s BioMask™, the first-ever FDA-cleared antiviral, antimicrobial medical face mask that is shown to inactivate flu viruses, won the 2012 Chicago Innovation Award at a ceremony in Chicago last night featuring Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

With the 2012-2013 flu season currently underway, Medline's BioMask is a major breakthrough in protection especially for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, pregnant women and people with chronic illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every five people in the United States today is affected by the flu and an average of 200,000 people are hospitalized each year with flu complications.

For the first time ever, this new face mask actually inactivates laboratory tested flu viruses, including imminent pandemic and seasonal strains of influenza (flu) viruses, such as H1N1, Avian flu and Swine flu. Traditional face masks act only as an air filter and do nothing to neutralize the harmful pathogens that remain active on the mask itself.

"We are especially proud to receive this innovation award because BioMask has the potential to help protect health care workers, patients and vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with compromised immunities," said Charlie Mills, Medline's CEO.

Click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dvXjTbyECw to see a video with more information on BioMask featuring an interview with Frank Czajka, president of Medline's Proxima products division.

Medline's BioMask uses proprietary Ionixx™ technology that incorporates three natural and safe ingredients (citric acid, copper and zinc) to effectively inactivate viruses on the inside and outside surfaces of the mask within five minutes.  A hydrophilic coating on the outside quickly wicks droplets away from the surface while the low pH in citric acid begins to inactivate viruses on contact. The droplet then lands on the mask's inner blue layer where any remaining viruses are inactivated by copper and zinc, which are toxic to pathogens. 

The benefit of the BioMask is that it can provide protection from cross contamination. The outer facing of the mask is frequently touched by the user, who then touches other things or people. Since BioMask inactivates 99.99 percent of the tested flu viruses on five minutes contact, the risk of spreading the virus is greatly reduced.

"New products and services, like BioMask, brought to market in the Chicago region each year represent the most important economic engine driving the new economy," said Thomas D. Kuczmarski, co-founder the awards.  "The economy is challenging but each nominee believes the simple truth that a powerful new product will find a rewarding market and each has the courage to pursue their vision."

Celebrating its 11th year, the Chicago Innovation Awards is the Chicago region's foremost recognition of the most innovative new products or services brought to market or to public service each year.  Medline was named one of the 10 winners of the 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards out of nearly 400 nominees across all industries, sizes and sectors in the Chicago region. 

The complete list of this year's Chicago Innovation Award winners can be found at www.chicagoinnovationawards.com.

The BioMask was launched earlier this year under Medline's Curad® brand name exclusively for the retail market. It is currently available at major retail chains, including Walgreens, Walmart, Meijer, Albertsons and Winn-Dixie. Medline's BioMask is also available to medical and health care facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, surgery centers, physician offices and laboratories.  

About BioMask™

In independent laboratory (in vitro) tests, BioMask inactivates 99.99 percent of tested influenza viruses upon five minutes contact with the surface of the facemask against the following influenza viruses: influenza A subtypes and strains, H1N1, H3N2, H2N2; avian flu subtypes H5N1, H9N2, H5N2; swine flu subtype H1N1; equine flu subtype H3N8; and Influenza B, under tested contact conditions.

Mundelein, Illinois-based Medline is the exclusive distributor of the BioMask™ in the United States to hospitals, nursing homes, surgery centers, and hospitality and retail chains. Medline is also the exclusive health care distributor of the BioMask face masks in Canada and Europe. BioMask™ surgical face masks are developed and manufactured by Ionixx Technologies, Inc. based in Hong Kong and Germany.

About Medline

As the nation's largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of health care and surgical products, Medline manufactures and distributes more than 125,000 products to hospitals, extended care facilities, surgery centers, physician offices, home care dealers and retailers. Recently named one of the "100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare," Medline is headquartered in Mundelein, Ill., and has more than 1,100 dedicated sales representatives nationwide to support its broad product line and cost management services.

John Marks, (847) 643-3309                                   Ann Fahey, (847) 643-3011           

jmarks@medline.com                                              afahey@medline.com

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The following pictures are available for download:

[Image] Medline wins 2012 Chicago Innovation Award