Welcome to the fourth issue of COVID Solutions Bulletin. Because of your expertise, you have been chosen part of a select audience to receive this e-mailed publication. Our mission is to educate influential Americans on innovative solutions to the COVID-19 crisis in America. We need to get back to work, to school, to play – to enjoying life. We can’t get there without thwarting the current pandemic and preparing for the likelihood of other pathogens to come.
One of our themes is this: Masks, distancing, testing, even vaccines are not enough. Environmental solutions have to be part of the effort – and that means technologies that neutralize pathogens, including the COVID virus, where they have the best chance to spread and infect – in interior settings. We hope you find this newsletter enlightening and will share your feedback.
In this issue:
Beyond COVID-19: The Need for Safe Air, Always
On April 7, the seven-day moving average of COVID deaths in the U.S. dropped to 642, the lowest figure in nine months. More recently, deaths and cases ticked up but then leveled off, and it appears that as vaccinations increase, the COVID threat is being contained. Some 88 million Americans, or one-quarter of the total population, have been fully vaccinated, as have two-thirds of those 65 and over.
But even when the pandemic disappears, the danger of pathogens – viruses, bacteria and molds – will remain. In fact, many of those pathogens are harder to neutralize than SARS-CoV-2, whose envelope is particularly vulnerable. (The Spaulding disinfection hierarchy places enveloped viruses at the bottom of its pyramid as easiest to inactivate, with spores and mycobacteria at the top.) The lesson Americans should take away from the COVID experience the lesson that air does not need to be merely clean but safe.
Influenza at a Record Low, a Condemnation of Traditional Ventilation
Consider influenza. The official flu season is over at the end of April. For 2020-21, the total hospitalization rate has been 0.7 per 100,000 Americans – or just 215 people, the lowest number since reliable data started being collected in 2005. According to the CDC, that is about one-eighth the rate during the last low-severity flu season, in 2011-12.
Only one – yes, just one – pediatric death has been reported in the 2020-21 flu season, compared with an average of 180 deaths of children in the preceding three flu seasons. In a single week during the 2019-20 flu season, 19 American children died.
What’s happening here? First, fewer people are mingling with other people in groups like classrooms or basketball arenas. Second, steps taken to mitigate COVID-19 also affect influenza. “Hand washing, social distancing, and wearing masks are certainly driving down cases of the flu,” said Dr. Casey Kelley, a family medicine physician and the founder and medical director of Case Integrative Health in Chicago, as quoted in a Healthline article.
But the results are also a condemnation of the poor state of indoor air over many years in our schools, factories and other gathering places, including homes. Because we weren’t there or because we were masked, we didn’t get infected by the flu virus, but if HVAC ventilation had been accompanied or supplanted by other technologies, we would have been saving lives for decades. And it’s not only the flu. Indoor air is needlessly contaminated by bacteria, mold, and other viruses.
Perhaps the most important lesson of the pandemic is that we have to make interior air safe – not just for COVID but for what’s already here and what may come.
Indoor Spaces are 'Prime COVID Hotspots'
Occasionally, a single article will perfectly capture a complex situation at precisely the right time. That is the case with the piece that appeared March 30 in the 152-year-old scientific journal Nature, carrying the headline, “Why indoor spaces are still prime COVID hotspots: Risks shoot up when virus particles accumulate in buildings, but it’s not clear how best to improve ventilation.”
Very late in the game, scientists and policy makers have come to the conclusion that the real danger in this pandemic is airborne transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in interior spaces, writes Dyani Lewis, a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Now, the big question is what to do about it. Again, there’s growing realization that initial approaches – opening windows, ramping up ventilation, adding filters to HVAC systems – have been inadequate. The Nature article tells the story….
As late as March 28 of last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) was broadcasting this message on Twitter and Facebook: “FACT: 3COVID19 is NOT airborne.” It took another three months to produce even the soft admonition that airborne transmission in “crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces over a long period of time with infected persons cannot be ruled out.”
We now know better, and, in the Nature article, Lewis quotes Yuguo Li, a building environment engineer at the University of Hong Kong as saying, “We would have saved a lot of people” if WHO and others had recognized airborne transmission earlier.
WHO is still not going far enough. “Airborne transmission is dominant,” says Joseph Allen at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Jose-Luis Jimenez, an atmospheric chemist at the University of Colorado, is quoted by Lewis as saying, “They don’t emphasize how important it is.” What the WHO needs to say is, “FACT: it goes through the air.”
In July, 239 scientists signed a letter that began:
We appeal to the medical community and to the relevant national and international bodies to recognize the potential for airborne spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). There is significant potential for inhalation exposure to viruses in microscopic respiratory droplets (microdroplets) at short to medium distances (up to several meters, or room scale), and we are advocating for the use of preventive measures to mitigate this route of airborne transmission.
Then in October, the Lancet, another venerable British scientific publication, reported that “growing evidence has highlighted that infective microdroplets are small enough to remain suspended in the air and expose individuals at distances beyond 2 m from an infected person. This knowledge is also corroborated by investigation of spread of cases between people who were not in direct or indirect contact, suggesting that airborne transmission was the most likely route.” Bigger droplets fall to the ground, where they are harmless, but tiny ones hang around.
Still, mitigation of interior spread has been sluggish, and governments slow to respond. As we noted in Issue No. 1 of this newsletter, in a remarkable letter on Feb. 16, a group of 13 U.S. health experts, including such members of President Biden’s own COVID task force as Rick Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and Michael Osterholm, a highly regarded epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, called for immediate action to “limit airborne transmission of the virus in high-risk settings like meatpacking plants and prisons.”
Still, these warnings are not being taken seriously enough. Jimenez, quoted in the Nature piece, points out that governments and businesses are spending vast sums on surface disinfection even though contaminated surfaces are rarely the source of transmission. “By contrast,” writes Lewis, “few countries have invested in measures to improve indoor air quality.”
How to Improve Air Quality
Then there’s the question of how to stop indoor spread. Lewis’s article makes clear that simple ventilation – which exchanges indoor for outdoor air – is not enough. Christian Kahler, a physicist who studies aerosols at the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich, says that few HVAC systems are powerful enough to use 100% outside air: “Most office spaces and classrooms around the world are supplied with just 20% outside air, with the remainder recirculated.”
A big problem is that increasing the exchange of air consumes a lot of energy – as does the addition of filters on HVAC systems. Lewis quotes Li as saying, “The environmental cost of increased ventilation should give people pause.” Cranking up ventilation also makes rooms drafty and noisy.
One answer, says Kahler, is “mobile air purifiers that filter out viruses and other airborne contaminants.” These units “could be readily deployed as part of the solution…and would be more energy-efficient than using extra heating or cooling on outside air,” Lewis writes. One scientist noted that air purifiers, “in some scenarios, outperformed the ventilation for removing aerosols.”
In fact, some mobile units not merely remove viral aerosols through filters – a slow and often ineffective process – they actually neutralize pathogens. In the technology used by the firm ActivePure, for example, submicroscopic particles are unleashed that quickly latch onto pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 and inactivate them.
Long-Term Troubles Even for Patients With Mild COVID-19
We know that 80% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 exhibit persistent symptoms long after coming down with the disease. Now, a research letter published by JAMA on April 7 reports the results of a study of long-term symptoms in a group with mild COIVD symptoms. The results are troublesome: “A considerable portion of low-risk individuals with mild COVID-19 reported a diversity of long-term symptoms, and these symptoms disrupted work, social, and home life.”
Sebastian Haverall of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and two other Swedish researchers examined 323 seropositive (that is, tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus) health care professionals with zero or mild previous COVID symptoms and 1,074 seronegative participants as a control. Some 26% of the seropositive subjects reported at least one moderate to severe symptom lasting for at least two months, compared with just 9% of the seronegative subjects. And 8% of the seropositive participants had a symptom lasting at least eight months, compared with 4% of the seronegative participants.
“Of the seropositive participants, 15% reported their long-term symptoms moderately to markedly disrupted their work life, compared with 6% of the control group. The most common symptoms were fatigue, shortness of breath, and loss of the senses of smell and taste. Those in the study were relatively young: a median age of 43.
From Sea Spray to COVID Aerosols
A recent article in EOS, a publication of the American Geophysical Union, highlighted the work of Kimberly Prather, a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. “Prather usually spends her days looking at pollution in the ocean and its effects on human health,” writes Jenessa Duncombe. “But since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Prather has dedicated herself to understanding the airborne spread of the virus.”
Prather and 11 scientific colleagues have put together an exhaustive FAQ on “Protecting Yourself from COVID-19 Aerosol Transmission.” The 62-page document covers subjects like outdoor vs. indoor, spread by singing and musical instruments, and the effectiveness of ventilation, filters, portable air cleaners, and ultraviolet light. “I’ve gotten a ridiculous number of thank-you letters from all over the world saying how many lives I’ve saved,” Prather is quoted as saying. “That’s nice, but I want this thing to end.”
Prather was one of the 13 scientists who sent the Feb. 16 letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, NIH’s Tony Fauci, and Jeffrey Zients, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator.
“We were all baffled that [public health agencies] didn’t take aerosol transmission as being more serious to begin with,” said Jorgen Jensen of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, quoted in the EOS article. “There were people who were hammering that, and they were not being heard for many, many months, and my feeling is that was a tragedy.”
Two Leading Infectious Disease Scientists Join Firms Fighting COVID
Further evidence of the importance of fighting SARS-CoV-2 indoors came last week with the announcement that Robert Redfield, the former director of the CDC, would be advising a Kentucky-based company called Big Ass Fans, known for its large ceiling fans. Big Ass sells a “smart fan” for $1,750 that uses UV light against pathogens.
In March, ActivePure Technology of Dallas, whose Medical Guardian device has been cleared by the FDA, announced that Deborah Birx, former director of the coronavirus response under President Trump and for seven years Global AIDS Coordinator at the State Department, had joined the company as Chief Medical and Scientific Advisor. Dr. Birx was in charge of PEPFAR, the largest single program by any nation in history to battle a single disease globally. PEPFAR has save more than 18 million lives.
In December, the University of Texas Medical Branch confirmed that the technology inside the ActivePure’s devices neutralizes over 99.9% of airborne SARS-CoV-2 within three minutes.
Both Dr. Redfield and Dr. Birx are physicians and former Army officers whose clinical research at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, NIH, and elsewhere focused on the most virulent infectious disease of the time, HIV/AIDS. Now, they are turning their attention to novel solutions to COVID-19, which has already claimed 2,966,000 deaths worldwide.
Welcome to the third issue of COVID Solutions Bulletin. Because of your expertise, you have been chosen part of a select audience to receive this e-mailed publication. Our mission is to educate influential Americans on innovative solutions to the COVID-19 crisis in America. We need to get back to work, to school, to play – to enjoying life. We can’t get there without thwarting the current pandemic and preparing for the possibility of other pathogens to come.
One of our themes is this: Masks, distancing, testing, even vaccines are not enough. Environmental solutions have to be part of the effort – and that means technologies that destroy the COVID virus where it has the best chance to spread and infect – in interior settings. We hope you find this newsletter enlightening and will share your feedback.
In this issue:
COVID 3rd-Leading Cause of Death in 2020, But Data Understate Impact
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that the age-adjusted death rate for the United States rose 15.9% last year because of COVID-19, from 715.2 per 100,000 Americans to 828.7. According to our calculations, that is the sharpest calendar-year increase in recorded U.S. history, even greater than during Spanish Influenza epidemic year of 1918, when the rise was 14.1%.
A total of 378,000 COVID deaths were recorded in 2020, ranking the disease third for the year after heart disease and cancer.
The figures, recorded over a calendar year, actually underestimate the impact of COVID. In the first three months of 2020, only about 4,000 COVID deaths occurred; for the first three months of 2021, the total is about 145,000. So for the 12 months from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, the death total from COVID is approximately 520,000. That compares with about 700,000 for heart disease and 600,000 for cancer.
New Biden Jobs Plan Includes Improvements to Clear Air of
COVID Virus and Other Pathogens
Also on Wednesday, the White House issued a statement on the details of the President’s proposed American Jobs Plan. It makes the point that “we can’t close the opportunity gap if low-income kids go to schools in building that undermine health and safety.”
So President Biden is calling for “$100 billion to upgrade and build new public schools” – with $50 billion in direct grants and $50 billion through bonds. “These funds,” says the White House statement, “will first go toward making sure our schools are safe and healthy places of learning for our kids and work for teachers and other education professionals, for example by improving indoor air quality and ventilation.”
The plan is clear recognition that clean air is essential in keeping students and teachers healthy, reducing absenteeism and keeping minds focused. The term “ventilation” appears to stand for diverse methods of improving the air. Ventilation itself – the exchange of indoor for outdoor air – is desirable but, of course, does not destroy the pathogens that cause COVID-19 and other illnesses, as we note later in this newsletter.
The American Jobs Plan also calls for modernizing other buildings, including Veterans Administration hospitals, and it allots $400 billion for “care infrastructure,” expanding access to home or community are for people with aging relatives and those with disabilities. These infrastructure improvements as well are ripe for the kind of improvements that will reduce or eliminate the interior flow of pathogens like the virus that causes COVID-19.
Real-Life Results Show Vaccines Are Working
By the end of March, 29% of Americans had received at least one COVID-19 shot and 16% had received two. Half the population over age 65 is fully vaccinated. We now have early data showing the vaccinations are exceptionally effective and that adverse effects are minimal.
On March 29, the CDC’s Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report published a study by Mark Thompson, Jefferey Burgess, et al., that looked at nearly 4,000 subjects, mainly health care workers and first responders and found that those who received both vaccinations were 90% less likely to become infected with COVID-19 than the general population; a single vaccination was 80% effective. For vaccinated subjects observed two weeks or more after their second shot, only three came down with COVID, an incidence rate of 0.04 per 1,000 person-days; for unvaccinated subjects, the rate was more than 30 times higher – 1.38 per 1,000 person-days.
These findings dovetail with the results cited in a letter by eight California physicians, published by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on March 23. The researchers found that only seven of 4,167 persons tested 15 or more days after their second vaccination became infected with COVID-19. Out of 7,958 persons who had received just one shot, 57 contracted COVID 15 or more days later.
The physicians concluded, “The rarity of positive test results 14 days after administration of the second dose of vaccine is encouraging and suggests that the efficacy of these vaccines is maintained outside the trial setting.”
Another study, reported in a letter from William Daniel and colleagues in the same issue of the NEJM, found that only four out of 8,121 fully vaccinated employees at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas became infected seven days or more after the second shot. That is just 0.05% of the cohort. By comparison, 2.61% of 6,144 unvaccinated employees became infected, as did 1.82% of those who received only one shot.
Adverse Events from Vaccines Rare, But Hesitance Still High
As for adverse events, the CDC on March 22 reported that anaphylaxis – a type of severe allergic reaction – after getting a COVID-10 was “rare and occurred in approximately 2 to 5 per million vaccinated” in the United States. The reaction almost always happens within 30 minutes after getting a shot. The data come from the robust Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
At the time of the CDC report, 126 million doses had been administered, and VAERS had been informed of 2,216 deaths among people who had received a shot. But don’t be alarmed. That’s about one of every 60,000 of people vaccinated, and in the U.S. roughly one in every 1,200 people die every month from all causes.
Says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “CDC and FDA physicians review each case report of death as soon as notified and CDC requests medical records to further assess reports. A review of available clinical information including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records revealed no evidence that vaccination contributed to patient deaths.”
The vaccines are working. The bigger problem is getting enough people to be vaccinated. Now that supply in the U.S. is increasing briskly – 1% of Americans are getting shots each day – we are coming face to face with vaccination hesitancy, that is, fears unjustified by the data.
The Kaiser Family Foundation finds that, when asked if they will get vaccinated 13% of Americans say “definitely not,” 7% say “only if required,” and 17% want to “wait and see.” Among the definitely-nots, the rate is 15% for whites and 10% for blacks; 29% for Republicans and 5% for Democrats; 20% for people in rural areas and 10% for urban.
Air Purifiers Practical Solutions for Classrooms, Says German Study
A peer-reviewed study in the journal Aerosol Science and Technology, published March 1, concludes that “the operation of mobile air purifiers in classrooms seems feasible as a practical measure that can be quickly implemented during an epidemic.” Joachim Curtius, professor of experimental research at the Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, and two of his colleagues also wrote:
In order to reduce the risks of aerosol transmission for SARS-CoV-2 [the cause of COVID-19], air purifiers can form an important additional measure of precaution, especially in cases where no fixed ventilation systems are installed and when windows cannot be opened properly.
The study found that “staying for 2 h[ours] in a closed room with a highly infective person, we estimate that the inhaled dose is reduced by a factor of six when using air purifiers.” Also, “in times when classes were conducted with windows and door closed, the aerosol concentration was reduced by more than 90% within less than 30 min when running the purifiers.”
The researchers write that “air purifiers can reduce the aerosol load in a classroom in a fast, efficient and homogeneous way” and that the costs of implementation and maintenance “need to be compared to the substantial advantages of reducing the amount of infections and COVID-19 cases.”
We learned about the Curtius study from an approving Tweet by Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science at the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Allen wrote that he and Richard Corsi, the Joe J. King Chair Emeritus of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, “did a little back of the envelope” calculation and found that it would cost “only $1B to get one of these in every classroom.” Another calculation he did came to $10 per student per year.
A Plain Cough Is More Dangerous Than Intubating a COVID Patient
A year ago, a young anesthesiologist named Cory Deburghgraeve, who worked at the state hospital of the University of Illinois in Chicago, described to a Washington Post reporter what it was like to intubate patients in the ICU with COVID-19:
My mask and hood can get covered in fluid. Usually it’s tiny droplets. Aerosolized virus can float around. You’re basically right next to the nuclear reactor. I go in confident and fast, because if you miss on the first try, you have to do it again, and then you’re bringing out a ton more virus.
But in October, a paper in the journal Anaesthesia by J. Brown of the North Bristol (U.K.) National Health Service Trust and colleagues found that a simple cough produces about 20 more particles than the procedure of intubating a patient. The number of particles detected per cough was actually higher with ventilation on than with ventilation off. Or, as the headline on a CNN.com article on March 12 put it, “Cough more hazardous to Covid-19 medical workers than intubation, research suggests.”
The same particles of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, that harmed the medical workers in the Brown study are emitted not just in health care and nursing home settings but in interiors anywhere, including offices, schools, stores, restaurants, and gyms. And in some of settings, masks come off when people are eating, drinking or exercising.
As the CNN article stated: “Other new studies show that patients with COVID simply talking or breathing, even in a well-ventilated room, could make workers sick in [a] CDC-sanctioned mask.” The piece also cited “the growing body of studies showing aerosol spread of COVID-19 during choir practice, on a bus, in a restaurant and at gyms.”
Another study, conducted by Harvard and Tulane researchers, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Feb. 23, found that super-spreaders infected with COVID, mainly older or obese people, emit three times more aerosol particles than younger, healthier people. “The upshot is that it’s inhalation” of tiny airborne particles that leads to infection, says Donald Milton of the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
If schools are to reopen safely and Americans are to get back to something close to normal, a different approach is clearly needed to defeat COVID indoors. Ventilation, which simply exchanges old air for new but doesn’t destroy the virus itself, is obviously insufficient. Virus particles have to arrive at filters, a slow and inefficient process. Ultraviolet light is dangerous to humans and animals, and wearing an N95 mask at all times is, for nearly everyone, is an impossibility.
In solving the problem of airborne spread of SARS-CoV-2 indoors, scientists and policy experts are looking increasingly at technologies that blast out sub-microscopic particles that neutralize SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens immediately in the air as well as on surfaces. Such technologies also have the advantage of quick installation. They don’t require expensive changes to HVAC systems – or the installation of brand-new systems in schools and older buildings that lack them.
Dr. Birx Joins Maker of Devices That Destroy Interior Pathogens
In the latest indication of the importance of battling the COVID-19 virus in interior spaces, Deborah Birx – the high-profile scientific researcher, physician, and former public official – on March 15 joined a leading U.S. manufacturer of scientifically advanced infection-prevention devices.
MarketWatch described Dr. Birx as “a world-renowned global health official and a retired U.S. Army physician who was instrumental in HIV/AIDS vaccine research, and whose career has spanned three decades.” She was appointed by President Obama in 2014 to head the fight against the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and then last year by President Trump as response coordinator for the COVID-19 epidemic in this country.
Birx, who left government last month, became Chief Medical and Scientific Advisor to ActivePure Technologies, a Dallas-based company that makes a variety of devices that quickly and safely destroy viruses, bacteria and other pathogens in the air and on surfaces. The story of Birx’s move was first reported by Reuters on March 12.
Also on March 12, the George W. Bush Institute announced that Dr. Birx would join the organization as a Senior Fellow. “In the role,” said a press release from the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, “she will leverage her significant expertise in global health, pandemic response, and health systems to support the Bush Institute’s portfolio of work. She will also take on policy initiatives on how to better position our country to tackle health disparities in the future based off the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
ABC News reported that Birx said ActivePure “could help people get back indoors in a way that is safe.” ABC added that Birx….
…said ActivePure, which develops air purification technology for indoor spaces, could help people get back indoors in a way that is safe. "While I was out across the country listening to communities, the number one thing that everyone asked me was when will we get back to normal," Birx said.
ActivePure sells products used against other pathogens in the air and is in the process of applying for Food and Drug Administration approval of its technology to fight the novel coronavirus, as well. "It's about COVID-19 now, but I think it's going to be about aerosolized and respiratory viruses in the future," Birx said. "I think we'll all look at our indoor space in a much more critical way."
In 2014, President Obama appointed Birx as Global AIDS Coordinator at the State Department, heading the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, the largest global health effort by a single nation in history.
PEPFAR was launched by President George W. Bush in 2003 with overwhelming bipartisan congressional support. To date, the program has invested more than $90 billion fighting the AIDS epidemic and has saved more than 18 million lives, mainly in Africa. Birx was the longest-serving AIDS Coordinator when she was asked a year ago by President Trump to take on the additional job of coordinating the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Serving in the U.S. Army, she achieved the rank of colonel and headed research efforts on contagious diseases at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and at the Centers for Disease Control before going to the State Department. She has been author or co-author on more than 200 papers published in peer-reviewed journals.
CDC Says ‘Risk of Spreading’ COVID Virus by Ventilation Systems Still Unclear
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been somewhat ambivalent about the value of ventilation systems, as opposed to systems that actively destroy pathogens in the air. It’s worth quoting CDC guidance updated March 23:
The risk of spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, through ventilation systems is not clear at this time. Viral RNA has reportedly been found on return air grilles, in return air ducts, and on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) filters, but detecting viral RNA alone does not imply that the virus was capable of transmitting disease.
One research group reported that the use of a new air-sampling method allowed them to find viable viral particles within a COVID-19 patient’s hospital room with good ventilation, filtration and ultraviolet (UV) disinfection (at distances as far as 16 feet from the patient). However, the concentration of viable virus detected was believed to be too low to cause disease transmission. There may be some implications for HVAC systems associated with these findings, but it is too early to conclude that with certainty.
Revealing Classroom Animation
The New York Times recently posted this excellent animation with a headline about opening windows being the key to opening schools – though, as the Times itself demonstrated, it’s not as simple as that. The best answer (see Scenario 3) was a fan plus a portable air-cleaning unit.
In this issue:
CDC Issues Guidelines for Vaccinated Americans;
Some Call Them ‘Timid’
Some 9.5% of Americans have received all their COVID-19 shots (two for Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech and one for Johnson & Johnson) as of Monday, and on that same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines for those who have been completely vaccinated.
The gist is this: Two weeks after your final shot, you can, without a mask, get together indoors with others who have been completely vaccinated. You can also “gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.” Plus, if you have been around someone with COVID, you don’t have to “stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.”
But, says the CDC, you should “still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings,” and you should “still delay domestic and international travel” and observe the same recommendation as people who are not vaccinated: “do not travel at this time…. Stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”
In addition, says the CDC, “you should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.” These precautions are necessary if you are in public, if you’re gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household, or if you are visiting an unvaccinated person at risk of severe illness from COVID or who lives with a person at increased risk.
For example, if you’re eating inside in a restaurant, you have no idea whether the other people are vaccinated. Even if you wear a mask, you have to take it off to eat – which means that you will, at the very least, be endangering others, and maybe yourself as well.
The CDC mentions ventilation as helpful, but ventilation falls far short of the effectiveness that brings peace of mind. Ventilation is a process that exchanges air several times a day, but that means that particles of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can be hanging in the air between changes. Ventilation also causes particles to be blown from one side of the room (perhaps the side with an infected person) to another.
Another answer is technology that actively blasts out submicroscopic particles that hunt down and destroy airborne SARS-Cov-2 and other viruses, bacteria, and mold. One company that manufactures PPD technology, Dallas-based ActivePure Technologies, has received Class II medical device clearance from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
It’s also important to understand that none of the three vaccines that have received Emergency Use Authorization has 100% efficacy. In other words, Phase 3 trials found that some people who were vaccinated did come down with a COVID-19 infection. As the CDC warns, even if you were completely vaccinated, “you should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
Some experts were unhappy that the CDC did not go farther. “While some guidance is better than no guidance,” wrote Leana S. Wen, the former health commissioner of the City of Baltimore and a columnist for the Washington Post, “the guidelines are too timid and too limited, and they fail to tie reopening guidance with vaccination status. As a result, the CDC missed a critical opportunity to incentivize Americans to be vaccinated.”
The CDC admits that scientists are “still learning how effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.” An advantage of active seek-and-destroy systems is that, as mass-pathogen neutralizers, they are likely to be just as effective against SARS-CoV-2 variants – not to mention airborne bacteria.
After Trader Joe’s Worker Asks for Protection
Against Airborne COVID, He Is Fired, Then Reinstated
Six days following a report in Newsweek that a Trader Joe’s employee was fired after writing a letter to the grocery chain’s CEO asking for better protections against the COVID-19, the company issued an update on how it is “caring for crew members and customers” during the pandemic.
Trader Joe’s cited wellness checks, mask mandates, reduced store hours, enhanced cleaning, extra pay, plexiglass barriers, and other steps. The company’s update, however, did not appear to address the main complaint in the letter from Ben Bonnema, the worker who was fired.
Bonnema’s letter was reproduced in a Tweet that went viral. That letter referred to a Feb. 15 letter from 13 scientific experts, including three members of President Biden’s COVID-19 task force, to Jeffrey Zients, the President’s COVID coorindator; Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and Tony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The letter from the experts demanded that the Administration update guidance on battling the spread of COVID-19 through the air in enclosed spaces.
Outdated guidelines from the Trump Administration “have not been…strengthened to address and limit inhalation exposure to small aerosol particles,” said the letter.
Bonnema, who was employed in a New York City store and reinstated on March 3 after widespread media attention, asked for better ventilation, with more air changes per hour, and improved filtration. “We should be following the guidelines of scientists who study respiratory transmission,” he wrote. Bonnema did not mention proactive pathogen destruction devices, which dispatch particles to seek out and eliminate the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
And Trader Joe’s, in its “Coronavirus Update” on safety steps, made no reference to ventilation, filtration, or more active measures.
David Michaels of George Washington University, one of the 13 authors, Tweeted on Feb. 28, after the Newsweek article appeared: “A reminder to all employers: it is a violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act to retaliate against a worker for raising safety concerns. Workers often have the best understanding of hazards they face, and how they can, and must, be protected.”
At first, a Trader Joe’s spokesperson said that Bonnema’s “suggestions were listened to” but that he was “terminated…because of the disrespect he showed our customers.” He was then reinstated and the update issued.
A Pill for COVID Patients Who Aren’t Hospitalized
"I'm as enthusiastic about vaccines as anybody you've ever met. But at the same time, I'm a realist," said Francis Collins, director of the NIH in an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes on March 7. "We know that vaccines are not going to reach everybody across the entire planet in the next couple of weeks. People are going to continue to get sick in the meantime.... We need treatments for those people."
So far, NIH recommends only two pharmaceuticals for treatment of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and requiring supplemental oxygen: remdesivir, which now goes by the brand name Veklury, and dexamethasone, a corticosteroid used to treat rheumatic problems and other diseases. Both are administered intravenously. But another drug is on the horizon – one that may fill a crucial gap.
“A big need right now,” said Collins, “is for a drug that you could take by mouth, that you could be offered as soon as you have had a positive test, and that would reduce the likelihood that the virus is going to make you really sick.”
The subject of the 60 Minutes segment was just such a drug. Called fluvoxamine, it was approved in 2007 to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. It has been used and monitored for side effects for over a decade. “Fluvoxamine could certainly be something you want to put in the tool chest,” said Collins. “If it is a way of getting us further towards that goal of having fewer and fewer people really sick from this disease, then we want to pursue it as vigorously as we can.”
Eric Lenze, of the Deparment of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine of Washington University in St. Louis, led a small randomized trial of fluvoxamine that was reported in a peer-reviewed article on Nov. 20 in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. One of Lenze’s colleagues, a fellow psychiatrist, told him she suspected the drug might work against COVID-19.
The trial found that not a single patient who took fluvoxamine within 7 days of the onset of COVID-19 suffered a clinical deterioration about 15 days, compared with 6 patients, or 8.3% of the sample, who took a placebo. The authors called this difference “statistically significant” but said that determination of clinical efficacy would require larger randomized trials with more definitive outcome measures.” A larger trial is now underway, with 1,100 participants in five sites in the United States and Canada.
One advantage of fluvoxamine besides its being a pill and not an intravenous treatment: It is an inexpensive generic drug.
Meanwhile, another therapeutic, Molnupiravir, is showing promise. The antiviral was originally developed at Emory University and was later acquired by Miami-based Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, which partnered with the global giant Merck & Co. to continue development.
A study published in Science Translational Medicine last April found that the drug “inhibits SARS-CoV-2 in human airway epithelial cell cultures and multiple coronaviruses in mice.” A study in December, published in Nature Microbiology found the drug “blocks SARS-CoV-2 transmission in ferrets.” On March 8, the publication PrecisionVaccinations.com reported:
On January 25, 2021, Merck stated Molnupiravir is currently being evaluated in Phase 2/3 clinical trials in both the hospital and out-patient settings. The primary completion date for the Phase 2/3 studies is May 2021. The company anticipates initial efficacy data in the first quarter of 2021, which Merck plans to share publicly if clinically meaningful.
How a Chain of Alaska Exercise Clubs Encases
Its Members in a Sanitized Envelope
In an interview with station KTUU-TV, the NBC affiliate in Anchorage, Alaska, the CEO of the state’s largest chain of exercise clubs explained how he created “a full envelope sanitizing system” to keep members coming. Robert Brewster, CEO of the Alaska Club said that hand sanitizers, masks, and additional cleanings were obvious operating procedures, but he went much further with “a significant amount of capital improvements.”
They included upgrades for touchless entry, commercial-grade HEPA filters, electrostatic sprayers and foggers as well as “the installation of ActivePure throughout our facilities,” Brewster said, referring to a technology that evolved from the NASA space program in the 1990s and has been cleared by the FDA.
As a result, said Brewster, “we’ve had over 800,000 visits to the facilities since we’ve reopened and the pandemic has been underway, and we’ve had zero reported cases of COVID among our membership or among our employees that seem to have been transferred here at the club.”
Charlie Sokaitis, the KTUU reporter, also interviewed Joseph Urso, CEO of ActivePure Technologies, who explained how his devices at the Alaska Club work using an old video game analogy: “Imagine that you have a million different Pac-Men flying through the air gobbling up pathogens safely while you’re in the room.” Urso said that his company’s devices are being used in hospitals, schools, office buildings, homes, and more.
Brewster said that the Alaska Club has not yet returned to the same level of member activity as before the pandemic, but the gap has started to shrink.
Open Letter in NY Times Urges Biden to Back
Technology to Eliminate COVID Virus in Indoor Air
“Any plan to bring America back must deploy technology that can eliminate SARS- CoV-2, the COVID virus, from interior air – safely and immediately,” stated an open letter to President Biden, published in the New York Times on Feb. 25.
The letter also quoted Linsey Marr, Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech University, as saying, “It’s time to stop pussyfooting around the fact that the virus is transmitted mostly through the air.” Marr was one of 13 public health experts to sign a letter to Biden’s COVID Coordinator, CDC Director, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, warning of the dangers of contaminated aerosols lingering indoors and calling for action to limit transmission.
Urso, the author of the New York Times open letter, noted that his company has a system “that destroys the COVID virus in the air and [has] deployed it for decades…. It evolved from the NASA space program and is now used by hospitals, schools, offices, restaurants, and other businesses, and in hundreds of thousands of homes.”
Urso added, “By contrast, ventilation does not seek out the virus. Other systems are passive, slow, trap pathogens but don’t destroy them. Many are so dangerous, people can’t even be in the room. By contrast, our technology blasts out sub-microscopic particles that attack viruses and bacteria and destroy them in real time. Our system is safe for people and pets, and it works continuously.
The letter called such technologies, which actively and immediately seek and destroy pathogens, “the missing link.” Urso wrote, “Other U.S. companies may have similar solutions in the future, but spending billions on inferior systems now is wasteful.”
He added, “Every school in America should be benefiting from the science. So should meat-packing plants, grocery stores, health clinics, arenas and restaurants struggling to survive…. Bringing America Back depends on it.”
Providing Health Equity in the Pandemic
This newsletter focuses on innovation in the fight against COVID-19, so it makes sense for us to take note of the way President Biden is addressing the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on America’s most vulnerable communities.
Last month, he announced the members of his COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. A White House statement said that, with the outbreak of the pandemic, “inequities were quickly evident by race, ethnicity, geography, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other factors.”
The Task Force is headed by Marcella Nunez-Smith, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Yale School of Medicine, where she also founded the Equity Research and Innovation Center. Dr. Nunez-Smith is also one of the three co-chairs of the overall COVID-19 Task Force, announced in November.
In a press conference on Feb. 9, Dr. Nunez-Smith said that the Administration would “be partnering with federally qualified health centers, also known as community centers.” There are more than 1,300 of these around the country, serving 30 million people, two-thirds of whom live at or below the poverty line “and 60 percent of patients…identify as racial or ethnic minorities.” These health centers will now become direct recipients of vaccine doses as soon as next week.
Minorities Twice as Likely to Die
This focus on vulnerable communities is urgent. The CDC reported on Feb. 12 that African Americans were 10% more likely than whites to become infected with COVID-19 and 90% more likely to die. Hispanics were 30% more likely to become infected than whites and 130% more likely to die. Native Americans appear to be most vulnerable of all, by comparison. They are 90% more likely to become infected and 140% more likely to die.
Taken together these three minority groups, are about one-third more likely than whites to become infected but more than three times as likely to be hospitalized and more than twice as likely to die. In other words, when they do get the disease, they get far sicker.
Nor is it a secret that minorities are reluctant to be vaccinated. According to Healthline:
A recent report from UnidosUS, the NAACP, and COVID Collaborative revealed that just 14 percent of Black Americans and 34 percent of Latinx Americans say they have trust in the safety of a new COVID-19 vaccine. The study also found that 18 percent of Black and 40 percent of Latinx respondents say they trust COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness.
One reason is the legacy of the Tuskegee experiments on syphilis treatments, which tested black men for 40 years, through 1972, without their informed consent. Blacks have a history of serving as unwitting guinea pigs in health research. No wonder they are reluctant to try a new vaccine. In addition, in many states, securing a vaccine reservation requires advanced computer skills or the leisure to stay on the phone for hours.
We’re already seeing the results. A Kaiser Family Foundation study looked at the 36 states that report vaccination information by race as of March 1. African Americans and Hispanics are being vaccinated at rates dramatically lower than their proportion of the population. For example, in Washington, DC, Black people represent 45% of the total population and 76% of COVID deaths, but they have received only 26% of the vaccinations. In Georgia, Blacks are 31% of the population, 34% of deaths, and just 19% of vaccinations. In California, Hispanics represent 40% of the population, 46% of COVID deaths and just 19% of vaccinations. In Oregon, Hispanics are 13% of the population, 34% of deaths, and 5% of vaccinations. Similar ratios exists across the states.
Increased efforts are absolutely necessary to encourage African Americans and Hispanics to be vaccinated, but the truth is that any plan to mitigate the greater dangers to vulnerable groups needs to include means to destroy COVID-19 indoors – especially in the close-quarters situations in which many minorities work. Restaurant kitchens, health care settings, grocery stores and meat-packing plants are some obvious examples. In addition, many vulnerable groups live in multi-generational households, where older men and women are exposed to younger children, who are often asymptomatic.
The Equity Task Force also includes James Hildreth, an immunologist who was the first African American full professor in the 125-year history of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and who is now president of the Meharry Medical College in Nashville; Mary Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association; and Homer Venters, chief medical officer of the New York City jail system and a faculty member at the New York University School of Medicine.
It’s Unlikely COVID Will Ever Get Out of Our Heads
When will life get back to normal? In an interview with LA Times Today recently, Dr. Fauci said, "Hopefully, by the time we start entering 2022, we really will have a degree of normality that will approximate the kind of normality we've been used to.”
An ABC News piece noted that this was a “departure from previous predictions,” including remarks Fauci gave in January. At a conference hosted by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, he said, "If everything goes right … by the time we get to the early to mid-fall, you can have people feeling safe performing onstage as well as people in the audience," he said on Jan. 9.
For his part, President Biden, at a CNN Town Hall last month, suggested that life could feel normal again during "Christmas."
In fact, life may never get back to normal if normal means that Americans will be unconcerned about what viruses and other pathogens are floating in the air they breathe, especially indoors. The COVID-19 pandemic has made us conscious of the dangers in the air, and that is something that we can’t really unlearn.
A new awareness of such threats is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, the CDC reports that the influenza rate so far this flu season is only 0.7 per 100,000 population: “This is much lower than average for this point in the season and lower than rates for any season since routine data collection began in 2005, including the low severity 2011-12 season. During that season, rates were 2.3 times higher.
Consider New York state. From Oct. 1, 2019 to April 4, 2020, some 19,713 residents were hospitalized with the flu, but from Oct. 1, 2020 through Feb. 26, 2021, only 183 were hospitalized. There are several reasons for the decline, but one is the increased vigilance inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. We can expect that vigilance to continue well beyond late fall, or Christmas, or early 2022.
In this issue:
Health Experts Call For Action Against Indoor Airborne Virus
Concern over the lack of a strong policy to combat the airborne transmission of the coronavirus in interior settings is mounting.
A group of 13 public health experts, including such members of President Biden’s own COVID task force as Rick Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and Michael Osterholm, a highly regarded epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, called for immediate action to, as the New York Times put it, “limit airborne transmission of the virus in high-risk settings like meatpacking plants and prisons.”
The plea came in a letter Feb. 16 to Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Administration COVID Coordinator Jeff Zients; and Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The Times quoted Linsey Marr, an expert on aerosols at Virginia Tech, as saying:
It’s time to stop pussyfooting around the fact that the virus is transmitted mostly through the air. If we properly acknowledge this, and get the right recommendations and guidance into place, this is our chance to end the pandemic in the next six months. If we don’t do this, it could very well drag on.
The World Health Organization conceded only in July that the virus can linger in enclosed spaces, and it took the CDC until October to recognize that the virus can sometimes be airborne – “in a puzzling sequence of events in which a description of how the virus spreads appeared on the agency’s website, then vanished, then resurfaced two weeks later,” wrote Aporova Mandavilli of the Times.
Biden Strategy Comprehensive But Not Complete
Also puzzling is the omission in President Biden’s “National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness”, issued on Jan. 21, his first full day office.
The document runs 200 pages and covers vaccinations, testing, masking, data-gathering, distancing and treatment. It advocates using the Defense Production Act for personal protective equipment (PPE) and promises to issue clear public health standards. It provides advice on safely reopening schools, businesses, and travel while at the same time protecting workers.
The strategy is certainly comprehensive, but there is no mention of technology for attacking airborne pathogens in enclosed areas. These are the interior spaces in which, according to a paper in the journal Nature, people spend 87% of their time, and, as the CDC puts it, “SARS-CoV-2 viral particles [which cause COVID-19] spread between people more readily indoors than outdoors.”
As a report in the Wall Street Journal stated:
It’s not common to contract Covid-19 form a contaminated surface, scientists say. And fleet encounters with people outdoors are unlikely to spread the corornavirus. Instead, the major culprit is close-up person-person interactions for extended periods.
And those interactions typically occur inside classrooms, hospitals, clinics, restaurants, retail stores, offices, factories, convention halls, movie theaters, gyms, casinos, arenas, and homes.
The good news is that technology exists to eliminate viruses, bacteria, molds, and other dangerous pathogens in interior air.
The bad news is that it is being largely ignored by policy makers. For example, in the Biden strategy document, the word “mask” appears 73 times and “distancing” 28 times, but “air purification” or even “airborne” not once.
Mitigation Through Ventilation?
The only mention of the serious threat of SARS-CoV-2 floating in interior air comes in the text of two executive orders that are part of the strategy document. In one, the President asks for “proper ventilation” in schools, and in the other, he wants “appropriate ventilation” in means of transportation. The document also refers to a request to Congress for $25 billion for personal protective equipment and “ventilation supplies” for “hard-hit child care providers.”
Ventilation is a term that refers to the exchange of air: moving it in and out, replacing old with new. “Ensuring proper ventilation with outside air can help reduce the concentration of airborne contaminants, including viruses, indoors,” says the Environmental Protection Agency. “However, by itself, increasing ventilation is not enough to protect people from COVID-19.”
Ventilation interventions, says the CDC, “can reduce airborne concentration [of SARS-CoV-2], which reduces the overall viral dose to occupants.” Of course, ventilation, as it moves old air out and fresh air in, can also cause pathogens in one part of a room (for example, where an infected person may drinking scotch) to flow to another part of the room (where you may be eating a steak).
But the main point is that ventilation, even if does reduce the concentration of airborne pathogens, is in itself is a crude technology for eliminating SARS-CoV-2. Much better are systems that trap the pathogens in filters, or, better yet, destroy the virus particles outright.
CDC's Guidelines for Schools
Reopening schools is a top priority for the new Administration, and the CDC on Feb. 12 issued an extensive update to its guidelines for schools and child care centers. Again, the emphasis was on masks and social distancing. A separate guide for teachers called “How Do I Set Up My Classroom,” advocated, “Open a door or windows to increase ventilation.” But the CDC warns, “Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk (e.g., risk of falling, triggering asthma attacks).”
As if it’s not cold enough in a classroom with open windows in February, the teacher guide also advices: “Use fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows.” But again, the CDC has a warning: Don’t position fans in a way in which they can “push potentially contaminated air directly from one person over or to another.”
A Fla. School Charts Its Own Course
What the CDC does not mention is technology that seeks out and destroys pathogens in the air, but this technology has been attracting schools all over the country.
For example, when the 2020-21 school year began, students and teachers at the Pine View School in Osprey, Fla., were eager to get back to the classroom, but they were also worried. The school implemented new safety measures regarding masks, distancing, and hand-washing. But some of the parents had read about air-purification technology to neutralize SARS-CoV-2 in interior spaces. They wanted this extra protection for their children, but the school system was not providing it.
So Courtney Rosenthal, a parent at Pine View School, which educates gifted students in grades 2 through 12 in Sarasota County, started a GoFundMe campaign to purchase stand-alone air-purification units. The campaign raised $70,968 in just 11 days, enough to purchase 130 such units– one for all 112 classrooms at Pine View plus more for other Sarasota County schools that needed them. “It was the domino effect,” said Rosenthal. “The community just came together.”
Rather than blowing air around or trapping pathogens in filters, the technology blasts out sub-microscopic particles that seek out viruses, attack them, and render them harmless.
“I have three kids who go to Pine View and I teach here,” said Pamela Novak, a teacher at the school. “I feel so much safer knowing that my kids, their friends, our teachers, our staff, everyone is going to have that added layer of safety.”
An 11th grader said she had special concerns about COVID-19 because her father is at high risk. “I’ve honestly been really scared about coronavirus. Knowing about the air scrubbers being in my classes makes me feel a lot more safe,” she said.
A little more than halfway through the academic year, students at Pine View are remaining in the classroom for in-person learning without fear while others throughout the country have been forced to move back and forth between virtual learning and in-person learning.
Technology Destroys Airborne COVID Virus Quickly and Safely
The technology that Pine View adopted was highlighted in a Dec. 10 article in the Washington Post by the newspaper’s innovation reporter Dalvin Brown. Called ActivePure, it was developed by a Dallas-based company.
According to Brown of the Post, “While many home-based air purifiers rely on passive HEPA filters or ultraviolet light to kill contaminants, ActivePure uses active, NASA-inspired technology to disinfect the air.”
Standard air purifiers, wrote Brown, “use a fan and filter system that sucks in unclean air, captures contaminants and pushes clean air back into the room.” By contrast, in the ActivePure system, “a fan brings in free oxygen and water molecules and then converts them into special molecules as they pass through an internal UV light.” Using a patented process, the unit then blasts the ionized particles “back out into a room to find and destroy microorganisms.”
The Post article referred to the testing results by FDA-compliant, military-grade Biosafety Levels 3 and 4 laboratories that found that an ActivePure-powered unit, at its lowest setting, destroyed more than 99.9% of a high concentration of SARS-CoV-2 viruses in just three minutes. The article also noted that in June, the FDA gave a Class II Medical Device designation to the company’s Medical Guardian device, used in health care settings.
The Medical Guardian, which is driven by the same technology as all ActivePure devices, was found to safely destroy the six pathogens – two viruses, two bacteria, and two molds – on which it was tested. Included was an MS2 bacteriophage virus whose structure is similar to SARS-CoV-2.
Devices That Address the Experts' Concerns
It’s unclear whether the public health experts who wrote to the CDC are even aware of the ActivePure-driven devices, but the technology would seem to address their concerns. Filters, which are often cited as combatting airborne pathogens, are a slow, passive technology limited by the amount of contaminated air that passes through them.
Devices that are active – that is, send out particles to deactivate viruses – will undoubtedly proliferate in the coming months and years. They are able to destroy SARS-CoV-2 mutations, as well, almost certainly, as pathogens that will cause future pandemics.
COVID Solutions Bulletin
Our mission is to educate people on innovative solutions to the COVID-19 crisis in America. We need to get back to work, to school, to play – to enjoying life. We can’t get there without thwarting the current pandemic and preparing for the possibility of other pathogens to come.
COVID Solutions Bulletin is a publication providing regular updates on new and existing technologies that can help stop the spread of COVID-19, and help clear the air to open America back up.