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).