Wool is a superhero fibre. The preeminent fibre in the world of handmade luxury rugs, wool is renowned for its inherent anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties provided by the protective powers of wool’s fatty acids that ‘absorb’ the bad guys. But every superhero needs a sidekick. In 2021 one of wool’s (and other fibres used in rugs) new superhero sidekicks is Matthew Wailes’ eco-friendly rug and carpet collection called SoteriaAV whose fibres have a proprietary AVA™ technology that help neutralise coronaviruses including COVID-19, SARS, and MERS.
Known for his rug expertise and luxury handmade rug collections, London-based Matthew Wailes is also known for his campaigns to reduce industry waste and create innovations from non-industry related waste that include his LuxuryEco rug collection that uses yarns made from PET plastic bottles recovered from Thailand beaches. ‘Anti-allergy treatments that kill dust mites and fungus have been around for some time in the rug market,’ says Wailes, ‘but when the pandemic struck we started work on developing a new anti-viral collection which could potentially help to protect against coronavirus transmission and infection.’
Named after Soteria the Greek mythology goddess of safety, salvation, deliverance and protection (in Roman mythology she’s known as Salus which symbolises wellbeing and health), SoteriaAV offers 90%+ virus neutralisation in less than 30 minutes. The ‘AV’ in the name represents ‘anti-viral’, but the fibre is also anti-allergenic. AVA™ is not a surface treatment; it’s inherent in each fibre which means it offers long lasting anti-viral protection and SoteriaAV rugs are able to withstand extended periods of wear and multiple professional wet cleaning. When SoteriaAV fibre is blended with Wailes’ upcycled PET fibres, the result is a rug collection with both health and eco benefits.
AVA™ technology has been developed by Wailes’ Thai partner, The Carpet Maker, which helped develop fibres used in Wailes’ LuxuryEco Collection in support of the Upcycling the Oceans Thailand initiative. The LuxuryEco collection launched at Decorex London in 2019. ‘We can combine SoteriaAV fibre with our traditional manufacturing materials such as wool, or with our upcycled fibres or other fibres,’ says Wailes, ‘which means it can be used in the production of any our bespoke hand-tufted and handwoven products.’ SoteriaAV has been independently tested to ISO18184 in microbiological laboratories in the UK and USA.