The Coronavirus crisis may be dominating the current news but for Weiss Technik, the task of controlling and containing viruses and bacteria started approximately 50 years ago when they introduced their first “Ultra Clean Ventilation” system (UCV). Originally developed for hospital theatre applications to contain airborne particles, Weiss Technik’s innovative UCV systems are now specified around the globe for situations where infection control and containment are critical health factors.
Rupert Mack is Weiss Technik’s director of strategic business area Mediclean and is a member of German DIN 1946 as well as European WG 18 TC 156 committee. Rupert has overseen the continuous development of a range of industry-leading products and solutions that help to combat the spread of viruses in commercial settings.
He commented, “The main source of microbial aerosols in enclosed spaces can be deemed to be from human and animal organisms. Indoor air pollution is an important problem because people inhale between 6–10 litres of air per minute, which amounts to 15,000 litres of air per day. The health risks from exposure to poor indoor air quality is therefore significant because we spend around 90% of the day in indoor environments, of which approximately 25%* is spent at work (*during normal circumstances).
“Ironically, traditional air conditioning systems can actually increase the potential for bacteria and viruses to survive over a long period of time and distance. As we have witnessed, there is a propensity for viruses to increase during the colder months, natural ventilation is reduced when the population typically spends more time indoors and utilises additional heating sources. Whilst these situations are well known, in the event of a pandemic, as we are experiencing now, one needs to focus on solutions that provide an exceptional level of protection.
“Whilst the issues are complex, there are two fundamental types of airflow when considering how airborne particles spread: we differentiate unidirectional airflow (laminar flow) and dilution mixing airflow (there’s a direct flow top-down scenario and also a head-to-head situation). So, for example, in a hospital operating theatre air purification is a must. Our UCV systems actually cleanse a specific part of the room; typically directly above and around the operating table. The process is enhanced through our “Weiss Mediclean” traffic light system which provides a clear visual reference to air flow and virus content. This links to a dynamic system that automatically adjusts the air flow to ensure continuous protection.
“Our systems offer a high level of sophistication in their design and functionality. They feature a highly effective HEPA filtration system, combined with UVC light. A HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Absorber) filter is a specific type of high-quality air filter that meets the HEPOA filter standard, which is to remove at least 99.97% of particles (aerosols) from the air down to at least 0.3 microns in size. The UVC radiation is a known disinfectant for air, water, and nonporous surfaces. UVC radiation has effectively been used for decades to reduce the spread of bacteria, such as tuberculosis.
“The truth is that all indoor confined spaces now pose a potential threat. Businesses need robust, proven and reliable solutions that offer an unprecedented level of protection for their employees. Our product range has recently been augmented with the introduction of new products and solutions for every room or situation where people are working or living.
“Vindur® Top is an important development of our cooling system with HEPA filtration and UVC light and offers businesses the opportunity to easily retro-fit a unit into a building refurbishment situation or to have a complete building air purification system specified at the design and build stages. Vindur® Top is programmed to achieve 3 to 5 kilowatt cooling capacity that helps to counteract equipment that generates heat.
“We have just unveiled our latest product called Vindur® Pure. This is a mobile air purification system without cooling. This “plug and play” unit provides effective virus and bacteria control in rooms up to 70m2 capacity. It includes two filters (efficiency and high efficiency) and a UVC light. It can easily and simply be installed in a room, in ether a mobile floor standing or wall-mounted situation. Plus, when required, the unit can be switch to UCV operation only, to save energy. Vindur® Pure is an ideal solution for businesses looking for a fast and effective method of protecting their employees.
“As I have mentioned, Weiss Technik has almost five decades experience in developing bio-safety products and solutions. We are experts and help our customers specify precisely the right system for their circumstances. The factors are many and complex. Determining how to avoid infection from one person to another means calculating the correct level and type of air flow based on the number of people in a room and their movements. It means calculating how temperature changes influence these circumstances and how the type of flow of air is consequently affected.
“I am proud of the exceptional team here at Weiss Technik – a team of specialists who have developed a remarkable range of air purification products that meet the HTM 0301 UK accreditation and continue to set new and innovative standards of technical excellence”.
Boris Johnson is pushing for schools to reopen as soon as possible after being told by the chief medical officer that the “peak of infections has passed”, according to reports.
The Prime Minister has told ministers to prioritise children’s education as the government’s most immediate focus, with extra funding earmarked to help students falling behind.
Johnson announced last week that schools in England would remain closed until at least 8 March after being pushed back from an original reopening date of mid-February.
On a visit to a vaccination centre in West Yorkshire yesterday, the Prime Minister said restoring children’s education was the “biggest challenge” the government currently faces.
“We want to repair any damage or any loss, any detriment to kids’ education as fast as possible,” he added.
It comes after Professor Chris Whitty is understood to have told the PM that the peak of infections had been passed last week, according to the Telegraph.
Latest figures showed the virus has fallen to pre-New Year levels in every region of England, with the UK yesterday recording 18,607 new infections — a 30 per cent drop compared to the previous Monday.
The number of new infections in London has halved over the past 12 days, from 63,949 on the 15 January to 31,822 on the 27 January.
Ministers have insisted that Britain is on track to achieve its target of vaccinating the four most vulnerable groups by 15 February, and all over-18s by May.
Almost 9m people have been given their first dose of the jab so far, with a further 487,756 vaccines administered yesterday alone.
The NHS will start sending vaccine invites to around 3m people aged between 65 and 69 from next week.
However, the discovery of the South African variant cases around the UK has cast fresh doubts on the timeline of the UK’s return to normality.
Door-to-door testing for the new strain will launch from today for residents in the London boroughs of Ealing, Haringey and Croydon amid government plans to “snuff out” the variant, which is understood to me around 70 per cent more transmissible than the original strain.
Around 80,000 people in other areas around the country including Guildford, Maidstone, Walsall, Preston, Mitcham, Woking and Broxbourne will also be part of the surge testing plans.
It comes after a “small number” of people were found last week to be infected with thenew mutation despite having no travel links.
Gene sequencing has so far found 105 cases of the variant, with 11 infections unlinked to foreign travel, prompting concerns the South African variant is now spreading in the community.
Coronavirus cases have continued to fall in Suffolk and north Essex – but the infection rate in some districts remains higher than the national average.
Ipswich has the highest seven-day infection rate in Suffolk at 315.5 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to January 28 – though this represents a drop in cases from the week before.A Flourish chart
West Suffolk has the second-highest rate at 203.9, followed by East Suffolk’s rate of 184.4.
The rate in Mid Suffolk is 162.7, while Babergh’s infection rate is the lowest in the county at 148.9.
Infection rates remain comparatively high over the border in north Essex, with the seven-day rate recorded at 382.8 in Tendring in the same timeframe.
The scientific and pharmaceutical race to keep coronavirus vaccines ahead of new virus variants escalated Monday, even as a highly transmissible variant first detected in people who had recently travelled to Brazil was discovered in Minnesota.
Moderna, the maker of one of the two authorized coronavirus vaccines in the United States, announced it would develop and test a new vaccine tailored to block a similar mutation-riddled virus variant in case an updated shot becomes necessary.
The effort is a precautionary step. Evidence released Monday suggested that the Moderna vaccine will still work against two variants of concern that emerged in the United Kingdom and South Africa. The plan highlights that the scientists who responded with unprecedented speed and success to develop coronavirus vaccines are already moving to address new challenges. It also amplifies the urgency of getting as many people immunized with current vaccines as quickly as possible.
“We need to double down on public health measures. The less a virus spreads, the less it’s going to mutate,” said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “We need to get as many people vaccinated with the current vaccine that we have as we possibly can … and prepare for the potential eventuality that we might have to update this vaccine sometime in the future.”
The success of two remarkably effective coronavirus vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech in record time last year provided breathing room and hope, even as the pandemic surged. But the detection of variants in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil in recent weeks raised immediate concern.
Those variants, each with a different assemblage of mutations, spread much more easily. But some of the mutations in each variant drew special concern because they sit in the spiky proteins that dot the outside of the coronavirus and have been the key target for vaccines and therapeutics.
Standard precautions to be applied during any vaccination activity are also valid for COVID-19 vaccine delivery, considering that the population to be vaccinated consists of individuals not presenting signs and symptoms of infection.
However, additional IPC precautions are necessary for the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission (e.g. mask use)
It is critical to provide health workers with specific training and the public with targeted
Appoint a facility IPC focal point8 for the planning, deployment and monitoring of the vaccination activities.
Identify an adequate number of vaccinators to ensure there is sufficient staff and time to support the correct implementation of the IPC practices required to safely administer the vaccine
Identify trained staff to deliver IPC training to those involved in vaccination activities (including managers, logisticians, vaccinators, cleaners and health workers dedicated to screening) and to provide information for clients to be vaccinated.
Identify health workers for the supervision of vaccination activities and define a monitoring and evaluation process of IPC practices, including providing feedback to vaccinators and other staff as required.
Read the full document: https://knowlex.co.uk/whitepapers/
All healthcare settings should ensure that:
• All outer packaging must be removed and recycled before an item is taken onto any ward or clinical area. If this is taken into isolation or higher risk area, then it is likely to become contaminated and therefore must be disposed of as infectious clinical waste.
• All confidential waste must be put into confidential bins.
• All sharps and anatomical waste must be put into the relevant receptacle with an appropriately coloured lid as per HTM07-01, and these do not need to be put into an orange bag (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-the-safe-management-of-healthcare-waste
• In summary, infectious clinical waste should be treated like any other infectious clinical waste – that is, as it would be for TB, hepatitis, etc, following national regulations. Healthcare waste is suitable for non-incineration technologies.
Hospitals in addition should ensure that:
• All food waste must be disposed of in black bags/compostable bags.
• Soiled linen must be put into alginate bags and then into relevant outer bags (usually white according to local policy)
• Non-ambulatory patients – urine and faeces to be put down the sluice/toilet. Where no sluice/toilet is available, excreta may be gelled and disposed of in an orange bag. If bed-bound, urine from catheter taken to sluice/toilet. The use of these granules must be strictly controlled as described in this NHS National Patient Safety Alert; https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/patient-safety-alert-superabsorbent-polymer-gel-granules/. Ambulatory patients can go to the toilet as normal were safe and feasible to do so.
• Where medicines are prepared in a clean area, pharmaceutical waste must be separated into the following receptacles: – Blue – non-hazardous healthcare medicines for incineration
– Purple – waste contaminated with cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines for incineration.
• Waste should be bagged in the appropriate colour bag. Where clinical waste carts are used, the bagged waste must be put into carts awaiting collection and disposal. Please ensure that all bins are full before releasing them from site.
• Disposal of all waste related to possible or confirmed cases should be classified as an infectious clinical waste suitable for alternative treatment and transported as category B, unless the waste has other properties that require it to be incinerated.
• No domestic waste is to be sent directly to landfill from acute hospital settings.
• Confidential waste generated on all wards (including isolation wards) must be disposed of via the existing confidential waste route. Confidential waste bins from areas with positive COVID-19 patients should be left for 72 hours before their contents is shredded
Read the full document: https://knowlex.co.uk/whitepapers/
15 January 2021
Initial reports from the national SIREN study say that antibodies from past COVID-19 infection provide 83% protection against reinfection for at least 5 months. The study was designed to understand whether prior infection with SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) protects against future infection with the same virus. It has been led by Public Health England (PHE) and UHNM has taken part in the innovative programme.
Public Health England has been regularly testing tens of thousands of healthcare workers across the UK since June for new COVID-19 infections as well as the presence of antibodies, which suggest people have been infected before.
250 staff signed up to take part in the study at UHNM, which requires participants to present for fortnightly testing for Covid-19.
Dr Chris Duff, Consultant Clinical Scientist, and SIREN Principal Investigator at UHNM said: “These initial findings from the SIREN study show how research is giving us better understanding of whether past COVID-19 infection may provide some protection against future reinfection. I’m thrilled that hundreds of staff volunteered to take part, and thank them for their on-going commitment to this research. Running SIREN has required huge effort by teams across the Trust, involving many staff across Research & Innovation, Pathology and Phlebotomy, and I would like to recognise their continued hard work in making it possible for us to conduct this important research at UHNM.”
So far UHNM has processed nearly 1,000 antibody tests and nearly 1,500 swab PCR tests for SIREN since Sept from 250 staff.
Reinfections in people with antibodies were rare, with experts identifying 44 potential reinfections among 6,614 participants who showed evidence of previous infection. However, experts have cautioned those with immunity may still be able carry the virus in their nose and throat and therefore have a risk of transmitting to others.
PHE scientists working on the study have concluded naturally acquired immunity as a result of past infections provide 83% protection against reinfection, compared to people who have not had the disease before. This appears to last at least for five months from first becoming sick.
While the SIREN study will continue to assess whether protection may last for longer, this means people who contracted the disease in the first wave may now be vulnerable to catching it again.
Professor Susan Hopkins, Senior Medical Advisor at Public Health England and the SIREN study lead said: “This study has given us the clearest picture to date of the nature of antibody protection against COVID-19 but it is critical people do not misunderstand these early findings.
“We now know that most of those who have had the virus, and developed antibodies, are protected from reinfection, but this is not total and we do not yet know how long protection lasts. Crucially, we believe people may still be able to pass the virus on.
“This means even if you believe you already had the disease and are protected, you can be reassured it is highly unlikely you will develop severe infections but there is still a risk that you could acquire an infection and transmit to others. Now more than ever it is vital we all stay at home to protect our health service and save lives.
“We are immensely grateful to our colleagues in the NHS for giving up their time to volunteer, and whose continued participation at a time of great stress is making this research possible.”
SIREN study leaders are clear this first report provides no evidence towards the antibody or other immune responses from COVID-19 vaccines, nor should any conclusions to be drawn on their effectiveness. The SIREN study will consider vaccine responses later this year.
Public Health England continues to stress the importance of following the stay at home rules and remembering hands, face, space – whether you have had the virus or not.
RIYADH — Coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia remained below the 200-mark on Sunday, with 176 new infections reported over the past 24 hours across the Kingdom, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health.
The ministry announced five more deaths over the past 24 hours due to complications caused by COVID-19, marking single-digit fatalities for many days since the outbreak of the pandemic in the Kingdom.
This brings the total number of confirmed infections in the Kingdom to 364,929 and the virus-related death toll to 6,323.
The ministry also reported 146 new recoveries over the past 24 hours, raising the total number of people free from the deadly virus to 356,687, with the recovery rate rising to 97.74 percent.
The Riyadh region reported the highest number of infections with 62 cases, followed by the Makkah region with 34 and the Eastern region with 32 cases.
The remaining cases were detected in different other regions of the Kingdom.
With the recoveries and new cases numbers staying steady, the active cases in Saudi Arabia have also dropped to 1,919 out of which 319 were critical cases. — SG
The UK will go through the “most dangerous time” of the pandemic in the weeks before vaccine rollout has an impact, England’s chief medical officer has warned.
Prof Chris Whitty urged people to minimise all unnecessary contact with others.
The next few weeks will be “the worst” of the pandemic for the NHS, he said. Thousands more people are due to receive a vaccine this week after seven mass centres opened across England.
NHS England said hundreds of more GP-led and hospital services would also open later this week. But with all centres, people will need to wait until they receive an invitation.
The government is aiming to offer vaccinations to around 15 million people in the UK – the over-70s, older care home residents and staff, frontline healthcare workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable – by mid-February.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock will set out the government’s vaccine delivery plan at a news conference later. He said the proposals would be the “keystone of our exit out of the pandemic”.
Outlining the vaccine rollout in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that ministers aim to give all over-80s the first dose of the vaccine over the next four weeks.
The Welsh Government plans to offer a vaccine to all over-50s and everyone who is at greater risk by spring.
In Northern Ireland, which is rolling out vaccines for care workers, health trusts have seen the busiest 48 hours since the start of the pandemic.
Mr Hancock said on Sunday about two million people in the UK had been vaccinated so far. Over the weekend, the UK passed the milestone of 80,000 deaths with coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.