Ambulance personnel driving COVID-19 patients to the hospital, risk inhaling airborne virus as patients puff pathogens into the air. A novel air filtration technology developed by Copenhagen Science City- based start-up company AirLabs is now being installed in 100 patient transport vehicles operating in London. The aim? To protect the drivers, the staff and the patients inside these vehicles.
Initially intended to protect against pollution
AirLabs was co-founded in 2014 by Matthew Johnson, a University of Copenhagen professor in atmospheric chemistry. One of their first products was the “AirBubbl”, an air filtration unit about the size of a wine bottle especially developed for cars. The company brought it out to protect drivers stuck in traffic while breathing the exhaust of the vehicle in front. When new corona struck, they realized that their device might protect drivers and passengers against this virus too.
When patients cough, sneeze, talk or even breathe, they spread tiny virus-bearing droplets into the air. Some of them small enough to float around for hours. This can spread the infection to anyone close enough to breathe in their exhalations, and there is a direct link between how much virus you inhale and how sick you get. Matthew Johnson is confident that AirLabs’ AirBubbl can help reduce exposure for workers who cannot avoid close contact with coronavirus patients, and for anyone working in essential jobs in enclosed spaces.
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Boca Raton, FL – Folio released its Mobile Health Passport to enable instant digital verification of a user’s coronavirus-related health status via their smartphone.
As states ease some lockdown restrictions, authorities and health institutions need to ensure the risks of secondary infection peaks are minimized. Verification of individuals’ health status does exactly that. Once citizens are tested for coronavirus, health entities can register the citizen’s health status and issue them an immutable, biometrically secure digital health passport to their smartphones. This digitized health passport enables increased and safer citizen mobility as governments begin to reopen their economies. The health passport is being provided free to state and local governments.
A digital health passport is superior to plastic health passports and wristbands in that they can be quickly updated. This is essential as the World Health Organization (WHO) considers new evidence that immunity does not always follow infection.
With its advanced biometrics and online verification, Folio provides certainty that the bearer of the passport is exactly who they claim to be with a verifiable health status at that point in time.
Folio’s digital wallet allows every individual to be in complete control of their privacy. Their credentials are secured locally on their smartphone, accessible only by them and shared upon their consent to verifiable authorities. Moreover, Folio’s streamlined, contactless digital-wallet alternative eliminates the need for plastic cards and wristbands (potential Covid-19 vectors) for most citizens.
“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have tailored our digital identity platform to incorporate this new Mobile Health Passport and are already working with governments that need quick and convenient health status verification,” said Tatiana Cogevina, Folio’s CEO.
Functions of Folio’s Smart Health Passport:
• Issue mobile certificates that verify health status instantly to an individual’s digital wallet
• Assure no certificate can be spoofed, tampered or misused by another person
• Remotely revoke or impose limitations on certificates
• Enable controls on user access to locations, facilities and services via biometric authentication
Leading healthcare transport provider, the HATS Group (“HATS”), is installing clean air technology in 100 vehicles used to transport patients, including those who are known or suspected SARS-CoV-2 carriers, as it aims to safeguard patients and reduce the risk of essential workers being exposed to the virus.
Coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2 are spread via respiratory droplets produced by infected persons when they cough, sneeze, talk or breathe. While larger droplets quickly fall out of the air, smaller droplets persist as aerosols. These aerosols provide an environment in which viruses can remain alive for hours allowing them to spread through the environment, according to recent studies from MIT and the New England Journal of Medicine. Droplets and bioaerosols also lead to the contamination of surfaces, another route of transmission.
By installing air filtration devices and a suite of other measures in their patient transportation vehicles, HATS is seeking to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus for staff who will come into close contact with infected patients in confined spaces.
AirLabs, which is supplying its AirBubbl in-vehicle air filters to HATS, has published a white paper on reducing exposure to airborne viruses using air filtration systems. It sets out the evidence behind airborne virus transmission and how air filtration can effectively remove bioaerosol particles.
Studies show that the amount of exposure is linked to the incidence and severity of viral disease, and ventilation is commonly used by hospitals to dilute and control airborne pathogens. By using air filtration in an enclosed space and reducing the airborne virus load, there is a potential to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 where people are in close proximity, such as ambulances, patient transport and other service vehicles.
Matthew Johnson, Professor of Chemistry at University of Copenhagen and Chief Science Officer at AirLabs, said: “Our focus here is on reducing exposure for workers who cannot avoid close contact with coronavirus patients, and for anyone working in essential jobs in enclosed spaces.
“The science shows that by installing air filtration devices in vehicles, it is possible to remove more than 95% of airborne particles. By decreasing the concentration of airborne particles that could contain the virus being breathed in by workers in critical environments, we reduce the risk of them being infected.
“Quantifying the potential scale of airborne virus transmission is a global challenge that many people are working to better understand. We believe a sensible approach is to use all available means to minimise the risk of exposure, in particular for those working in essential roles.”
HATS originally ordered 100 AirBubbl air filtration devices from AirLabs to protect its drivers and passengers from London air pollution. The installation has now been ramped up to provide an additional layer of protection for its workers from exposure to coronavirus, as its vehicles are repurposed to support London hospitals, including Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust and St George’s Hospital, which are putting protective measures in place to manage the crisis.
Ashley Stowell, Advanced Paramedic Practitioner and Clinical Director for HATS, said:;“We originally decided to install air filtration to protect our patients and our crews from London’s air pollution, as part of our ongoing commitment to the health and wellbeing of our staff. As the pandemic hit, it quickly became apparent that we could repurpose our vehicles to help transport patients infected by SARS-CoV-2.
“In order to do this we decided to ramp up installation, along with the rapid deployment of extra vehicles for a number of additional services, including ITU transfers of COVID-19 patients and maternity services to a number of Hospital Trusts across London, in a bid to help reduce the cross infection on this mountain we are all having to climb.”
John Wenger, Professor of Physical Chemistry at University College Cork and Director of the Centre for Research into Atmospheric Chemistry, said:“There is increasing acceptance of the role of aerosol transmission of this virus. We will never know exactly what proportion of transmission is via droplets, aerosols, physical contact or from surfaces. But, when restrictions start to be relaxed, there will be a lot of people wearing masks on public transport, in supermarkets and elsewhere. This is because of indications that dose matters and higher exposures can lead to more severe illness.
“There is an obvious need for methods to reduce airborne transmission right now for people who cannot avoid contact with the public.”
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Smartmatic continued its groundbreaking deployment of secure voting technology to Estonia, Belgium and Bulgaria during the recent European Parliament elections held on May 23 – 26. Voters in the three countries were able to cast fully verifiable votes using advanced and user-friendly technologies featuring state of the art security protections.
In Belgium, more than 23,000 Smartmatic electronic voting machines were deployed across 4,200 polling stations in Flanders and Brussels Capital. Smartmatic also provided a comprehensive suite of services to facilitate election administration including technical support, maintenance and supervision on Election Day.
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A new filtering system installed at London Marylebone train station is trying to tackle the problem of air pollution.
Using a nano-carbon filter the device is capable of removing over 90% of harmful gases from the environment.
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