Using AIRsteril to manage coronavirus
You will likely be most familiar with the term ‘coronavirus’ from the COVID-19 pandemic, but in reality, coronavirus is the collective name for several viral strains. As a group, coronaviruses are responsible for respiratory and intestinal illness in humans and animals, including the common cold and flu. There are however seven known types affecting humans, including those responsible for the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in China in 2002–2003, the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) on the Arabian Peninsula in 2012, and now the global severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) which is responsible for the 2019-20 (onwards) COVID-19 pandemic. The question is therefore, how can AIRsteril help manage the risk of coronaviruses and their ensuing illnesses?
AIRSteril and Coronavirus
The AIRsteril units use a unique combination of technologies to manage pathogens, viruses, spores, and odours within an indoor environment. They can be used to support in the process of infection control and virus spread, adding a new line of defence in the fight against person to person cross-infection. One of these processes is know as “Photocatalytic Oxidation” (PCO) which can also be referred to as “Photocatalytic Disinfection” (PCD) although the two are slightly different. Simply put, these processes use UV light to encourage a chain reaction, neutralising pathogens by causing them to break down into harmless substances like water and oxygen, or to degenerate bacteria and viruses to the point that they are unable to reproduce, and ultimately die. This in and of itself means that the system can be used to neutralise nasties and improve air quality, working in the air and on surfaces without needing harsh cleaning chemicals. Does it work specifically on coronavirus though?
A medical study in 2011, was undertaken to examine how and whether PCD can kill certain viruses. One of these viruses was the Human SARS coronavirus and the study was successful. Coronavirus can be killed, and the infection rate managed, using PCD technology to eliminate the virus in an environment. Similarly, quantified application in an NHS call centre found that use of AIRsteril units reduced absenteeism by 42%, particularly absenteeism through colds, flus, respiratory and intestinal illnesses, again adding weight to the argument that AIRsteril is effective on a number of coronavirus strains.
AIRsteril has not yet been scientifically tested to determine the effectiveness against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), also known as COVID-19. It has however been tested against MS-2 coliphage (a surrogate for Norovirus) and achieved significant reductions in counts in both air samples and on surfaces. MS-2 is a non-enveloped virus which is more difficult to kill than the lipid-enveloped SARS-CoV-2, so it follows that while AIRsteril cannot categorically state that it can kill COVID-19, there is a great deal of scientific evidence that this technology can kill a wide range of other microbes that are much more difficult to eradicate.
We have seen significantly increased enquiries and uptake in AIRsteril installations in relation to the COVID-19 epidemic, with business, employers and the public sector using it to help manage infection risk. If you would like to read more, microbiologist Dr David Webber has written an article on coronavirus and AIRsteril.