Click Here to Play Audio

A Hampton Roads company has a new face-mask product that’s designed to combat confusion over counterfeit models.

The product, called Blox, is from the medical technology firm ivWatch in Newport News. 

Each mask confirms it’s legitimate with a QR code that details how well it filters air.

The company started 10 years ago and supplies hospitals around the world with sensors that monitor IV infiltration and extravasation in real-time. 

When the pandemic started, President and CEO Gary Warren said they saw an opportunity to repurpose their materials into high-quality masks.

“The same materials that we work with to make these sensors, we could actually put in some of the fabrics that N-95 masks are made from,” said Warren. 

Counterfeit N-95 masks from foreign countries have become a big business... U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized nearly 15 million fake ones entering the country between the start of the pandemic and the end of 2020. 

CEO Warren said  ivWatch developed its mask with transparency in mind. 

“We’ve exposed the testing that we have to do on every lot of masks that we build," Warren said. 

ivWatch is manufacturing the masks at their facility in Newport News.

With that infrastructure already in place, Warren estimates they can produce around 20 million masks a year.