A Japanese menswear company has begun selling an "anti-swine flu" business suit that it says can reduce the risk of catching the virus.
The wool suit is coated with titanium dioxide, which breaks down the virus molecules on contact under ultraviolet light, Haruyama Trading Co. said.
The material, which can also reduce odours such as cigarette smoke, will keep its anti-virus properties even after being dry cleaned more than 20 times, the company said.
It will go on sale at 272 stores across Japan on Saturday, with a price tag of 52,290 yen (589 dollars), following its launch in Tokyo on Thursday, said company spokesman Ryugo Yamamoto.
The company had initially aimed to develop a dirt- and odour-resistant suit, "but laboratory experiments proved that molecules of viruses were actually dissolved three hours after they adhered to the fabric," he said.
Japanese people are known for being extremely hygiene-conscious, with thousands of people on the street wearing masks when the first Japanese victims tested positive for swine flu in May.
Students and even adult workers are instructed how to effectively wash their hands and gargle, while antibacterial goods ranging from men's socks to a computer mouse are also popular.
(c) 2009 AFP
Explore further: Senegal closes border as UN warns on Ebola flare-up