science behind eradication of coronavirus

More than Just Air Purification

The Science Behind Eradication of Coronavirus and Other Pathogens

By NoviSphere™ Staff

In early 2020, our NoviSphere PE 254 pathogen-eradication system was already well into development, with an intended spring launch. Then, the deadly COVID-19 pandemic hit, and we knew that bringing the product to market would not be truly viable unless we ensured that the technology could kill coronaviruses. To this end, we engaged with experts in pathogens and aerosol science from the University of Minnesota to test the unit’s efficacy against a COVID-19 surrogate strain.

The university team’s findings were written up in an article that is currently available for review and feedback by readers of Environmental Science & Technology. Published by the American Chemical Society, Environmental Science & Technology is a highly selective journal and only a small fraction of the papers submitted to it successfully complete the peer-review process and are published. The article is slated for publication in an upcoming issue of that journal, highlighting both the importance of the results and the quality of the experiments performed.

Summarized in this post are highlights from the article – most notably, the researchers finding that the prototype NoviSphere unit was 99.99% effective in eradicating a wide range of pathogens, including coronavirus.

The introduction explains that SARS-CoV-2, the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19, can be spread via both direct aerosol (inhalation of airborne particles) and indirect aerosol (touching of infected surfaces) routes. As coronaviruses can remain present in an aerosol at room temperatures for some length of time, the need exists for technologies that can directly mitigate an infectious virus surviving in an aerosol. Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation at wavelengths of 100-280nm (UV-C light) has been known for more than 80 years as being effective at preventing transmission of airborne diseases, and thus holds promise for eliminating coronaviruses.

Subsequent testing of a prototype ducted UV-C system built by NoviSphere was conducted to confirm this capability. The University of Minnesota researchers used porcine respiratory coronavirus (PRCV, an alpha coronavirus) as a surrogate for SARS-CoV-2, together with a monochromatic 254nm UV-C light and a custom wind tunnel constructed specifically for this purpose. As the authors note, “…[T]here is clearly increased importance in establishing proven technologies for airborne coronavirus removal and inactivation applicable to large volumes of air, or at flow rates higher than traditional bench scale experiments.”

The article next describes in-depth the research methodology, including all materials, measurement and data analysis steps pursued. Following this section, the authors describe their results. Of particular interest is the sub-section on virus removal and inactivation. They explain that PRCV was chosen as a coronavirus surrogate for this research effort since it requires biosafety level (BSL) class II facilities for experimentation (the University of Minnesota Veterinary Isolation Facility in St. Paul is BSL class II certified), and the researchers were able to propagate the PRCV to the high volumes needed to conduct the experiments.

The full study provides details regarding the system’s performance in efficiently inactivating aerosol coronaviruses. The bottom line is that researchers found that zero viable virus particulate survived passing through the prototype NoviSphere PE-254 unit, thus validating the unit as 99.99% effective.

Interested in learning more? Register to download the full study here.


pathogen elimination system

NoviSphere in the New Year

Pathogen eradication for 2021 and beyond

By Paul Lockhart, CEO

2021: the year the world is expecting advanced technology, innovations, vaccines, and personal and social hygiene to overcome the pandemic challenge of 2020. Exactly one year ago, our team had been hard at work for several months developing a roadmap for what was to become NoviSphere – a company well positioned to provide complete rarified environments, battle viral and bacterial pathogens, deliver pure air for any occupied space, and, ultimately, to meet the coronavirus challenge. We’re ready for NoviSphere to be a part of the global community’s solution to COVID-19.

When the pandemic appeared as a minor news article in January 2020, our NoviSphere team was completing our pathogen-eradication system: a germicidal 254nm ultraviolet (UV-C) light system combined with proprietary technology that optimally exposes airborne contaminants to the UV-C light to ensure their destruction. UV-C light is a proven technology that has been recommended by the CDC as a method to reduce the likelihood of transmission of COVID-19. And, unlike other technologies, this “direct kill” approach completely eliminates the pathogens.

By February, when COVID-19 became the dominant news topic, we knew dedicated, objective testing of our NoviSphere PE-254 was necessary to gain the public’s trust. After all, COVID-19 was proven to be elusive and deadly; therefore, we went where experts in pathogens and aerosol science can do their best work – the University of Minnesota. In a highly regulated and advanced laboratory, U of M researchers tested our PE-254 prototype against a COVID-19 surrogate strain. Their results confirmed that NO live viruses were found in air exiting the NoviSphere PE-254, validating the unit as being 99.99% effective.

With this knowledge and the U of M test results under our belt, we launched NoviSphere and our PE 254 air-purification system in November 2020. We truly believe it is the best, most thorough pathogen-elimination offering on the market, and we are seeing heightened interest from companies and organizations around the world. We are excitedly setting goals for 2021 to bring a suite of new clean air innovations to public and private workspaces. Here are some examples:

  • First and foremost, we are excited about the opportunities our pathogen-eradication system presents to help get life back to normal in many different environments, such as healthcare facilities, schools, retail settings, restaurants, and sports venues, just to name a few. We designed the unit specifically to make UV-C technology safe for use in high-traffic areas.
  • We look forward to engaging with customers to install the NoviSphere PE 254 in these spaces so that workers and visitors can know they are constantly breathing clean, fresh air. We will be expanding on these and other sites that can benefit from the technology in future posts; for example, recently we took a look at shopping malls.
  • We are also focused on an ongoing educational effort. With the development and deployment of vaccines, there is much to be optimistic about regarding eventually curtailing the COVID-19 virus. However, the consensus is that more global pandemics are a virtual certainty, and we are committed to helping preclude the spread of future viruses and airborne illnesses. Another of our key goals, therefore, is to build awareness that maintaining clean indoor air is of vital importance – not just today but going forward.

Later this year, we plan to introduce our next product. Our COO Joe Cestari, in a prior post, provided his insights and a preview of our dynamic plans. Currently in development, our next offering will allow us to make significant inroads to improving global health and safety by providing rarified environments for all spaces where people live and work. This larger vision is what fuels and motivates our team – our collective experience has given us a new perspective into the importance of having access to clean, pure air 24/7. We are excited to have the means and opportunity to make this a reality so that you can breathe easy and stay safe, no matter where you are.


worst indoor air quality

Safe to Go Back? Fixing Shopping Malls’ Indoor Air Quality Problem

By NoviSphere™ Staff

COVID-19 has made 2020 a year that most will not be sorry to see end. While fast-tracked vaccines are currently being rolled out, offering hope for some return to normalcy, scientists agree that this will not be the last global pandemic. Clean, pure air must be a top priority if we are to prevent the spread of future viruses and other airborne illnesses.

This raises an issue that many of us likely hadn’t thought about too much in the “old days”: the overall air quality of high-traffic public areas such as malls, restaurants, theaters and sports arenas, to name a few. It turns out, for most of these settings, their air quality is problematic. This post is the first in a series that will examine the challenges associated with some of these venues and how NoviSphere addresses them.

Poor indoor air quality is changing consumers’ shopping preferences

Due to the pandemic, this holiday season looks very different for everyone. Many retailers and providers of shipping services predict it will be the largest online shopping holiday season in history, with fewer consumers going out physically to shop than ever before. Small wonder, as it turns out that malls top the list of places with the worst indoor air quality, according to the nonprofit site Environmental Pollution Centers.

Many malls house businesses that can generate high levels of harmful particulates, such as dry cleaners, food courts, salons and paint stores, and the buildings’ ventilation systems typically pull in dust, smoke and pollen from outside air. Further compounding this, we now realize the additional hazards posed by germs – i.e., potential pathogens – expelled into the air by shoppers and store employees in highly crowded conditions. Doesn’t sound like the fun day of shopping you might have in mind?

A new approach to indoor air quality is here

What will it take to convince consumers to step through the mall doors again? How can they be convinced that retail environments are no longer at the top of the worst indoor air quality list? For many, knowing they’re breathing a continuous supply of clean, fresh air will be the tipping point. NoviSphere can make this happen by putting in place rarified-air environments that keep you safe and decrease the spread of airborne illnesses. The NoviSphere™ PE 254 system continuously circulates air through the unit, which contains proprietary baffling technology to entrap pathogens and an array of germicidal 254-nm ultraviolet (UV-C) lights to kill them. This “kill zone” is fully sealed within the system, so it’s completely safe ­– and effective – for use in heavily trafficked locations like malls. The NoviSphere PE 254 runs 24/7 to ensure a safe, pathogen-free shopping environment through COVID-19 and beyond.

We look forward to working with retailers to integrate the NoviSphere PE 254 – as well as future NoviSphere technology offerings – into their venues. Our goal is to help the world get “back to normal” so that people can be out and about, enjoying the holiday shopping season as soon as possible, knowing that they’re protected from airborne pathogens. And the next pandemic? We look forward to helping stop it in its tracks.


air purification

NOVISPHERE™ LAUNCHES PE 254

RARIFIED-ENVIRONMENT TECHNOLOGY START-UP NOVISPHERE™ EMERGES FROM STEALTH MODE, LAUNCHES PATHOGEN-ERADICATION SYSTEM

NoviSphere™ PE 254 uses germicidal UV-C light to kill 99.99% of airborne viruses, bacteria and other contaminants, creating 24/7 ultraclean environments


ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. – November 10, 2020 – NoviSphere™, a developer of comprehensive rarified-environment solutions officially launched today. Using scientifically proven short-wavelength ultraviolet (UV-C) pathogen-eradication systems and additional cleanroom technologies, NoviSphere delivers ultraclean, protected environments that promote health and safety, allowing people to get back to business, back to work and back to life.

The company’s initial commercial product is NoviSphere™ PE 254, a cost-effective, high-performance UV pathogen-eradication system that delivers the highest possible degree of cleanliness to any environment. Its patent-pending design uses germicidal (254nm) UV-C lamps, fully contained and sealed inside the unit, and proprietary baffling technology to kill up to 99.99% of airborne viruses, bacteria and mold spores. The system continuously removes all pathogens safely and reliably using a variable speed control, providing up to four complete air changes per hour in an average room. The compact system can be used in virtually any large public setting, including, but not limited to, hospitals, schools, warehouses, manufacturing plants, hospitality, mass transit centers, sports facilities, and industrial and commercial settings.

NoviSphere PE 254’s effectiveness has been scientifically validated through extensive independent testing conducted at the University of Minnesota. The results confirmed it eradicated 99.99% of an aerosol coronavirus strain – specifically, HuCov229E, a single-stranded RNA virus similar to COVID-19 that causes respiratory illnesses in humans. Testing on the COVID-19 virus will occur when cultures are available in the scientific community. Additionally, further testing is planned in 2021 to verify 99.9999999% eradication (1 part per billion, or ppb).

Long used to disinfect air and environments, UV-C light works to kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA. According to Chris Hogan, PhD, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota, “Intense UV-C light has a proven track record of virus inactivation in aerosols. Published papers in Aerosol Science & Technology show it is particularly effective against single-stranded RNA viruses. Coronaviruses – and more specifically, SARS-CoV-2 – are single-stranded RNA viruses and would be highly susceptible to UV-C activation. Sealed, ducted UV-C sources with flow rates above 10 CFM are an effective approach.”

The NoviSphere leadership team, helmed by CEO Paul Lockhart, has a combined 100 years of experience bringing the most advanced solutions to consumers through space technologies, laboratory cleanrooms, biological eradication, consumer product design, retail, and now, eradication of viral contaminants. This highly experienced roster of experts is working together to drive NoviSphere’s growth and product development.

“At NoviSphere, our mission is to deliver confidence and safety to customers in their communities, workplaces and businesses,” said Lockhart. “The rarified environments we enable through our technologies are pathogen and particulate free – essentially, a magnitude better than today’s stringent ultraclean standards. NoviSphere PE 254, designed to effectively monitor and maintain pathogen-free living and working air environments 24 hours each day, delivers you the peace of mind necessary to go about your life and work, knowing you, your family or your employees are breathing virus- and bacteria-free pristine air. As a former astronaut entrusted with some of our nation’s most critical assets, I can think of no endeavor more important than what we are embarking on at NoviSphere.”

Pricing and Availability
NoviSphere™ PE 254 pathogen-eradication systems can be purchased now, with installation and volume deliveries beginning in early 2021. The units will be available through a variety of commercial options, with pricing varying by application and total area of the space where the unit(s) will be installed. Contact sales@novisphere.com for more information or a quote.

ABOUT NOVISPHERE
NoviSphere stands for “new environments.” We deliver viral, pathogen and bacteria-free environments for a variety of applications and industries through demonstrated barrier protection and assured environmental quality. Our integrated components and pathogen-eradication systems are based on validated scientific methods that eliminate biohazardous material and other airborne contaminants from enclosed settings of any size, while our rarified, “move-in-ready” environments are designed to eliminate risk and promote occupant health and safety. To learn more, visit www.novisphere.com.

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Media Contacts:

Lisa Gillette-Martin
Kiterocket
lgmartin@kiterocket.com
(408) 205-4732

Cindy Egnarski
NoviSphere
cegnarski@novisphere.com
(920) 619-5152