Antimicrobial, Antiviral and Antibacterial, Oh My!

Antimicrobial, Antiviral and Antibacterial, Oh My!

The COVID-19 pandemic gave us all a crash course in biology and medicine. Discussions about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, variants, and transmission rates have become the main topics on the news 24/7 and in our daily communication for almost two years now. You may have heard terms like antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal tossed around since the pandemic started or possibly even earlier in various cleaning product commercials and ads. But what do all these terms mean
and how do they differ from one another? Read on to catch up on your microbial lingo like a pro!

Man in a lab

  First thing first: What are microbes and antimicrobials?

Before we discuss antimicrobials, let’s understand what they fight against, and cover what microbes are. Microbes, or microorganisms, are tiny living creatures that are way too small to be seen by the naked eye. The most familiar types of microorganisms, or microbes, are bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Microbes can be found all around us – inside our bodies, in animals and plants and in the environment including in the soil, air and water. Many types of microbes are harmless or even beneficial to humans, for example, the bacteria in probiotic yogurts or in our intestines that help us with digestion, or fungi like yeast that we use for baking or for making beer. Some microbes are harmful to humans like the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 or the bacteria that cause diarrhea or acne. Let’s break down the definition of microbes further to the different types of common microorganisms.

  What are bacteria and what does antibacterial mean?

Bacteria are living organisms that have a single cell. For reference, there are over 30 trillion cells in the human body! Bacteria are all around us and can be found inside our bodies as well. In fact, scientists estimate there are more bacterial cells in our bodies at any given moment than there are human cells! Most of the bacteria in the human body are found in the gut. Naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut or miso contain bacteria and are considered healthy food choices. There are also harmful bacteria that can cause great discomfort and pain, illness or death like E.coli, Salmonella or the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections or ear infections. Other bacteria can cause us grief like the bacteria that causes acne pimples. Substances or materials that are used to kill bacteria are called antibacterial substances.

 What are viruses and what does antiviral mean?

Viruses are tiny organisms that lead a double life, so much so that scientists argue over whether viruses should even be considered living beings or not. Unlike bacteria and fungi, viruses do not have a built-in mechanism that allows them to function without depending on another living organism. They are not even a full cell, but rather genetic material (RNA or DNA) that is encapsulated within a protein coating. Viruses are parasites that need to find another living being, or host, to inhabit, so that they can operate. Viruses can use animals, plants or even bacteria as hosts. When outside of a host, viruses are inactive particles. But once viruses enter another living organism, they make their way into their host’s cells and begin to make copies of themselves, or replicate, using their host’s body as a manufacturing plant. Examples of viruses are the HIV virus, the influenza or flu virus, SARS-CoV-2 the coronavirus, and the various types of the Herpes virus. Substances or materials that are used to kill viruses are called antiviral substances.

  What are fungi and what does antifungal mean?

Fungi are multi-celled organisms. They are instrumental to the decomposition process of organic matter as well as exchanging nutrients with the environment. Yeasts and molds are fungi, and so are mushrooms and truffles. They like damp and warm environments. Some fungi exist on their own, obtaining food from dead organic material which they decompose in the soil or in water sources, for example the mold you see on bread or fruit that have been kept on the counter for too long. Others can have a symbiotic relationship, working in collaboration with plants, animals, and bacteria while still others can act as parasites causing Athlete’s Foot or yeast infections in the body. Fungi also act as the agents that make bread rise and ferment beer and soy sauce. Substances or materials that are used to kill fungi are called antifungal substances.

How bacteria look

  And now, antimicrobials

Now that we know what the common types of microbes are, we also understand that the substances or materials that are used to kill microbes are called antimicrobial substances and are therefore antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal.

  What is Sonovia doing differently?

The SARS-CoV-2 or coronavirus is a virus. Like any other virus, the coronavirus needs a host to become active and multiply. SARS-CoV-2 gets into the body through open cavities such as the mouth, nose, or eyes. That is why it is so important to practice physical distancing, frequent hand washing and wear masks. Standard masks are used to filter, or trap, the coronavirus inside the mask which keeps it from entering the body. The filtration process is a passive process in which the virus is wedged in the mask. Disposable masks may become infected after a few hours of use and therefore need to be tossed in the trash and replaced with a fresh, unused mask. If basic passive filtration makes you uneasy and you want to take protection up a notch, Sonovia offer the more advanced protection options out there.


The SonoMask™ Pro by Sonovia was created after 10 years of research and development using Sonovia’s patented ultrasonic technology. The SonoMask™ Pro has 3 layers of protection: an inner and outer layer made of tightly knit, soft, breathable fabric, and a middle filter layer to boost performance. It comes in 4 sizes ranging from small to XL and also offers a separate kids’ collection to provide protection for people of all ages and size. Sonovia’s mask offers your choice of either head straps or ear straps, both with adjustable sliders for maximal customization, ensuring good coverage and comfortable fit with no side gaps for air to leak out. The SonoMask™ Pro’s adjustable nose wire ensures a tight seal and fogless glasses. And the ergonomic chin guard keeps the mask in place while you are on the move.

The SonoMask™ Pro offers an impressive 97% filtration of 3-micron particles ( see our test report ), so you know you are getting proven protection you can trust. But the SonoMask™ Pro doesn’t stop there. In addition to the SonoMask™ Pro’s high filtration, the SonoMask™ Pro’s fabric is treated with an antimicrobial agent to protect the mask from the growth of microorganisms. The built-in antimicrobial properties in Sonovia’s face mask fabrics were tested at Vismederi Textyle S.r.l labs in Italy according to ISO standard 18184 and proven to prevent the growth of microorganisms on the mask’s fabric. The SonoMask™ Pro’s fabric neutralized over 99% of:
     • SARS-CoV-2
     • SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant
Over 6 hours.
This means that in addition to high filtration your SonoMask™ Pro neutralizes the viruses it traps, keeping your mask clean and hygienic. 


Sonovia’s face mask fabrics have also been proven to kill P.acnes bacteria with over 99.99% efficacy in 5 hours when tested at the Hy Laboratories Ltd under standard AATCC100:2019 (anaerobic conditions). 


In addition, Sonovia’s face mask fabrics were tested according to standard AATCC100:2019 test method and proven to prevent growth of bacteria on the mask. The SonoMask™ Pro demonstrated over 99% efficacy against: 
    • Klebsiella pneumoniae
    • Staphylococcus aureus
On the mask itself over 24 hours.

The Bottom line

So, in addition to everything else, the SonoMask™ Pro kills bacteria that come in contact with it. This means the mask stays clean and hygienic over time even in the most dubious surroundings. The antimicrobial properties maintain their performance for over a year of use and 55 weekly washes. And because the SonoMask™ Pro’s fabric is antimicrobial, it stays clean and hygienic, so you only need to wash the mask as needed if it becomes dirty or stained. The SonoMask™ Pro ticks all the boxes of the CDC’s recommendations for what to look for when choosing a mask and offers much, much more.


Now that you understand what the terms antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial mean, you can maximize your protection by choosing an award-winning mask with patented technology - The SonoMask™ Pro. Because when it comes to knowledge and to protection, you can never have too much of either.