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THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

ASX minnow Zoono Group is one company benefiting from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus that is shaking the globe with its founder saying millions of dollars worth of orders for its anti-microbial products are pouring in from China.

The New Zealand-based company sells products like hand sanitiser and surface spray used in hotel rooms and inside cars and underground trains in over 30 countries.

Since January 20, when news of the coronavirus began to spread, Zoono’s share price has surged more than 80 per cent to approximately 82¢, pushing its market cap to nearly $150 million.

Zoono Group shares rose after the biotech said its anti-microbial products can kill 99.99 per cent of the virus. Supplied

“The technology is perfect for these kind of outbreaks and stops the virus spreading,” Zoono founder and chief executive Paul Hyslop told The Australian Financial Review.

“We have got millions of dollars of orders pouring in from China at the moment.

“We have got several distributors in China. One is looking after online sales, one is looking after the animal health industry like poultry and pigs, and we are on the verge of signing [a multi-million dollar agreement] with another distributor looking after hotels, childcare and airlines.

“I can’t see this virus going away soon, and I can only see our business increasing.”

The coronavirus has spread throughout Asia from the epicentre of Wuhan, China, with more than 500 people dead and over 20,000 infected.

Zoono produces sprays, wipes and foams suited for skincare, surface sanitisers, and mould remediation treatments. The products are based on the ‘zoono molecule’, an anti-microbial molecule that bonds to any surface and kills pathogens including bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi and mould.

The protective ‘pins’ on the surface remain intact and effective for up to 30 days.

Mr Hyslop said the current virus strain is part of the coronavirus family, and he was very confident that Zoono’s products are effective against the entire family given previous testing completed in Europe.

“A few years ago we tested against the MERS virus.  The accepted surrogate conveniently was the coronavirus, almost identical strain to the current one. This was very opportune as we show greater than 99.99 per cent effectiveness even after diluted 50 per cent with water —this is the EU standard — so you can safely say we are effective against the coronavirus family of viruses,” he said.

Zoono’s Z71 Microbe Shield Surface Sanitiser and GermFree24 Hand Sanitiser products were recently sent to a German laboratory for testing against the latest Chinese strain of the coronavirus. Results are due back in two weeks.

Zoono is a tightly held stock, with Mr Hyslop controlling 51 per cent of the shares.

Another biotech company possibly set to benefit from what the World Health Organisation is now calling a global emergency, is Genetic Signatures.

Technology developed by the Australian molecular diagnostics company can test for the virus.

Chief executive John Melki recently said the firm’s EasyScreen Respiratory Detection product worked for coronaviruses and could detect the strain which has originated in China. The company is contacting government agencies about the product.

Carrie LaFrenz Senior Reporter

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW

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