General care

Air purifier could eliminate MRSA from hospitals says Tri-Air Developments

4 October 2007

Tri-Air Developments has developed an air purifier that can kill the MRSA ‘superbug’ and other bacteria and viruses, including H5N1, within minutes. The unit simulates the natural purification properties of fresh air to ensure the continued protection of the hard-to-reach places, such as ceilings, fittings and ventilation ducts.

This process is 100 times more effective than current methods of decontamination, according to inventors Tri-Air Developments, which was co-founded by the UK's Building Research Establishment, microbiologists at Promanade Ltd and technology transfer specialists Inventa Partners Ltd.

An independent scientific report confirms that the purification unit is 99.999% effective in killing an airborne test Staphylococcus of the same genus as MRSA in less than two minutes and significantly reduces airborne spores similar to C. difficile in one hour (UK HPA Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Porton Down, Sep 24, 2007).

Tri-Air Developments’ new system simulates the production of fresh air to destroy airborne viruses and bacteria in minutes within any building. This eliminates the dispersal of MRSA and viruses by air currents — which could evade measures already introduced by hospitals to combat the spread of the nosocomial, or hospital-borne infections.

The unit combines three established decontamination technologies to overcome their inherent individual shortcomings: non-thermal plasma; ultraviolet catalysis; and Open Air Factor (OAF). This creates a fresh air environment that is lethal to viruses and bacteria, including MRSA, and continually ‘scrubs’ the air clean.

It creates an OAF which is rich in hydroxyl radicals, to destroy microbes including H5N1 flu and cold viruses and bacteria, both in the air and on surface contact. Hydroxyl radicals are found naturally in abundance in outdoor fresh air, with high concentrations in forested mountain areas, and are completely harmless to people.

The unit can be readily adapted for a range of medical applications, such as within large ventilation systems or for portable use in a single ward or room. Commercialisation advisors PricewaterhouseCoopers are in discussion with a shortlist of international manufacturing companies in North America, Europe and Asia to structure rights for production.

The decontamination process occurs both within and outside the machine, to create a continual supply of hydroxyl radicals dispersed throughout a room, making it effective even without processing all of the air through the unit.

The UK patent was granted 15th May 2007, and worldwide patents are pending.

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