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TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - For the executive who doesn't have time to come down with the flu, a Japanese company has invented a new form of protection -- the anti-H1N1 suit.
Menswear company Haruyama Trading claims the suit can protect wearers from the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, as it is coated with titanium dioxide, a chemical commonly used in toothpaste and cosmetics and that breaks down when reacting with light, supposedly killing the virus upon contact.
Shinto Hirata, vice director of merchandising at Haruyama, says the suit is proven to kill 40 percent of the latest flu virus in about three hours and will retain its protective capability even after being washed several times.
"If a person with the flu virus coughs, it might get on someone else's suit and from there, another person might get infected," he told Reuters Television.
"Small children might catch the virus after touching their father's suit. We came up with this idea to protect all businessmen and their families."
The suit was developed after joint research by several companies including Haruyama and Gaea, which specializes in anti-bacterial and deodorizing coatings.
Gaea has been using its own method for over 10 years to coat various fabrics, including anti-flu face masks, towels and physicians apparels, which are widely available.
Despite the new layer of protection, the suit seems fairly similar to others worn by Japanese white-collar workers. It comes in four colors and styles and costs around $590.
"I bought this suit to protect my new-born baby at home. My wife is worried about the swine flu as well," said one buyer, 32-year-old Japanese businessman Eiji Hiratsuka.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 340,000 people have been infected with H1N1 worldwide and the disease is responsible for 4,100 deaths.
Editing by Miral Fahmy