Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu Facts for Architects and Engineers

UV-C destroys Swine Flu virus in the air stream
Swine Flu is caused by an influenza A virus subtype known as H1N1. Influenza A viruses are highly susceptible to the germicidal effects of ultraviolet light in the ‘C’ band. Technically speaking, UV-C does not kill the virus; UV-C inactivates the virus. Inactivated viruses have irreparable DNA damage caused by UV-C and are unable to reproduce and are therefore, rendered non-infectious.

Is Swine Flu airborne?
Existing research on influenza transmission is not definitive. However, there is a growing consensus amongst scientists that influenza viruses are transmitted through the air. All research agrees that influenza viruses are airborne as they are expelled by infected people via coughs, sneezes and normal respiration. Some of these infectious droplets settle on surfaces, some of the droplet nuclei travel through the air.
Swine Flu is transmitted when a person inhales the infectious nuclei or touches the droplets and then transfers the virus to the body through the nose, mouth or eye. So the real issue isn’t if influenza is airborne, the debate focuses on how the virus enters the body either by inhaling flu aerosols or by contact and transfer to the body. Most researchers say airborne and contact transmission both play a role, but are not certain of each mode’s relative contribution to human infection.

The VIGILAIR® Solution

When it comes to pandemic planning, there is no panacea. The best strategies involve a comprehensive approach to reducing pathogens in the built environment and preventing transmission of disease. VIGILAIR® is a proven technology that is currently used for pathogen control and bio-defense in hospitals, research labs and other high profile government buildings.
VIGILAIR® captures and destroys pathogens such as A(H1N1) as the microorganisms circulate through the HVAC system. Each VIGILAIR® system is designed to yield a predictable kill rate on specific pathogens. Engineering and design are crucial for VIGILAIR® Pathogen Control and Biodefense systems. Airborne inactivation of viruses such as A(H1N1) requires a specific energy intensity and exposure time (also known as the ‘dose’). Without proper scientific design, UV systems will not deliver a strong enough dose to have any effect on the A(H1N1) virus. VIGILAIR Systems, Inc. is the only UVGI manufacturer that has performed UVGI irradiation tests with live infectious agents including Anthrax, Avian flu (H5N1) and the SARS virus. The VIGILAIR® Biodefense system is the only UVGI technology to earn the Department of Homeland Security’s ‘designation’ as a Qualified Anti-terror Technology.

For Architects and Engineers

In light of the recent Swine Flu outbreak, you may be asked if there are any engineering controls to help prevent or lessen exposure to A(H1N1). While no one individual tactic can eliminate virus transmission, there are steps to lessen exposure to the virus. VIGILAIR® is a proven technology that reduces the concentration of infectious microorganisms within buildings. VIGILAIR® is an evidence based design tool that you can recommend to your clients as they seek innovation solutions to the challenges caused by A(H1N1).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu: time for planning, not panic

First, an update on the current state of swine flu infection across the world. Here's a Google map listing all known and suspected swine flu cases worldwide:

View H1N1 Swine Flu in a larger map
Now, what to do about it!
Many of our clients are calling, asking about the protection VIGILAIR offers against the current swine flu virus. The good news is that influenza A (H1N1) virus is highly susceptible to UV. Both our Pathogen Control Systems (PCS) and Biodefense Systems (BDS) are designed to provide the proper dose of UV energy to inactivate the swine flu virus in the air stream.
Now the not-so-good news. No single technology or drug will provide 100% protection against contracting swine flu. VIGILAIR is an excellent component in a comprehensive strategy to reduce infection risk.
For a realistic statement of what VIGILAIR offers in protection against swine flu, click here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

UK Terrorism Experts say Dirty Bomb Threat Increasing

Britain's Home Secretary couldn't be more direct. She said that the threat of of terrorists using a dirty bomb is, "...severe..."

Secretary Jacqui Smith made this assessment as her government launches a new
and aggressive effort to combat terrorism that includes a much greater role for citizens. The new effort is described as "extremely broad ranging" and includes training 60,000 citizens in terrorism prevention and response.

Apparently new intelligence has raised concerns over the use of a chemical, biological or nuclear dirty bomb that could contaminate a wide area, endangering thousands, if not millions of people. British Government reports say that the dirty bomb threat is elevated because it has become easier for terrorists to obtain necessary materials from rogue and failed states, as well as from hospitals.

Ms. Smith warns, "Changing technology and the theft and smuggling of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive materials make this aspiration more realistic than it may have been in the recent past."

Britain's counter-terrorism forces have grown from 1,700 officers in 2003, to 3,000 in 2009.