Vystar Corp. has introduced a natural rubber latex produced through a proprietary process the company claims deactivates antigenic proteins in latex.
Called Vytex, the latex is safe for use by people who are allergenic-protein sensitive, said William Doyle, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Atlanta-based firm.
Vytex was unveiled by Viktor Sharivker, Vystar vice president and senior scientist, when he presented a technical paper on the latex at the International Latex Conference, held July 26-27 in Charlotte, N.C.
The firm's processes-employed prior to vulcanization of NR latex-get protein levels below ranges standard tests label as undetectable, according to Travis Honeycutt, Vystar president and CEO, who invented Vytex and co-wrote the technical paper with Doyle. Vytex can replace traditional NR latex in virtually any manufacturing environment, he claims.
Vytex is especially needed in the health care industry, where the number of workers affected by latex allergies is as high as 17 percent, said Honeycutt. He attended the conference with several other company officials to discuss the new product.
Honeycutt said he spent seven years and a good deal of money developing Vytex.
``Recent focus groups (primarily made up of nurses and other medical personnel) validate the need for a natural rubber latex without the historic problem of allergenic proteins,'' Doyle said. ``Operating room nurses and surgeons have expressed dissatisfaction with synthetic substitutes and a desire for latex gloves that would be safe for patients and health care workers.''
The company doesn't plan to make finished goods from Vytex, and probably will license other firms to make products from the material, he said. ``This is just an introduction, not a product launch.''
Doyle said the rubber should be of interest to a variety of different companies, including those in the medical product, mattress and carpet backing industries.
Vytex is produced through a novel, patented method aimed at deactivating antigenic proteins in liquid rubber latex that involves the quasi-sequestration of the proteins, Honeycutt and Doyle said.
Early results indicate the deactivation method has no adverse effects on the physical and chemical properties of NR latex when it is used to make dipped products, and barrier properties actually may be improved over untreated rubber latex, they claim. Studies are being conducted to verify the claims.
Vystar, which has a staff of seven, plans to move from its small headquarters in Flowery Branch, Ga., to a larger facility in August or September, primarily because the company anticipates Vytex will create a good deal of interest, which will lead to growth, Honeycutt said.