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Germaphobes, rejoice! Coats has launched the world’s first antimicrobial sewing thread. Developed in the textile firm’s North American laboratories, the “Coats Protect” line claims to create a “zone of inhibition” that prevents the growth of odor- and stain-causing bacteria around seams. Hygienic hobbyists notwithstanding, Coats designed the chemical treatment for items that need continuous protection from microbes, including hospital furnishings, operating-theater beds, muscle supports, military tactical vests, and outdoor gear. Sportswear manufacturers looking to provide odor-free and antifungal footwear are also a potential market.