Don't get your hopes up: InvisibleShield screen protector for your phone won't kill Covid-19
Some people buy screen protectors for their phones to do just that: safeguard the device against drops, spills and other general clumsiness. But can a screen protector also reduce the likelihood that you’ll be infected with the coronavirus?
I raised the question having received a press pitch via email from Zagg Brands, makers of the InvisibleShield screen protectors.
“InvisibleShield Kills Human Coronavirus,” screamed the intention-grabbing subject line. I read on:
“Independent lab testing validates InvisibleShield screen protectors with integrated Kastus anti-microbial technology can kill human Coronavirus up to 95% after 30 minutes, in addition to 99.99% of the most common surface bacteria. The technology is baked into the glass and lasts the life of the screen protector. The CDC estimates that 80% of all infections are transmitted by our hands. One study even found an 82% overlap between bacteria on test subjects' fingers and their mobile phones.”
The press release attached to the email added that New England Journal of Medicine researchers found that human coronavirus can live on surfaces for up to three days. And the release mentioned that all the company’s 2020 protectors would include the Kastus technology and reinforce InvisibleShield’s “commitment to digital wellness.”
That's all well and good, but just what was Zagg suggesting about the COVID-19 virus? The last thing I wanted to do was amplify a claim that may be fact-based but given the pandemic we're all living strikes me as at the very least misleading.
“It’s a fair question,” Zagg’s public relations director Jeff DuBois responded in an email. “We have not tested against COVID-19 specifically. Third-party testing facilities still don’t have access, but they can test against human coronavirus more broadly.”
Indeed, DuBois made that point in his initial email, but you had to read a footnote in the actual press release for this: Anti-microbial technology is applied to the product; it does not directly protect the user from any exposure to bacteria or provide additional health benefits.”
Zagg also lets you know its cases don't protect you from COVID-19 on its website, but that disclaimer isn't exactly front and center either.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow @edbaig on Twitter