News & Updates
Will Covid Boosters Prevent Another Wave? Scientists Aren’t So Sure
As reported in The New York Times
The shots may help older, pregnant and immunocompromised Americans dodge serious illness or death. But the doses are not likely to prevent infections in any group, recent studies suggest.
As winter looms and Americans increasingly gather indoors without masks or social distancing, a medley of new coronavirus variants is seeding a rise in cases and hospitalizations across the nation.
Older adults, immunocompromised people, and pregnant women should get the booster shots, because they offer extra protection against severe disease and death, said John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. But the picture is less clear for healthy Americans who are middle-aged and younger. They are rarely at risk of severe illness or death from Covid.
The newer variants, called BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, are spreading quickly, and boosters seem to do little to prevent infections with these viruses, as they are excellent evaders of immunity.
“If you’re at medical risk, you should get boosted, or if you’re at psychological risk and worrying yourself to death, go and get boosted,” Dr. Moore said. “But don’t believe that will give you some kind of amazing protection against infection, and then go out and party like there’s no tomorrow.”
The most recent boosters are “bivalent,” targeting both the original version of the coronavirus and the Omicron variants circulating earlier this year, BA.4 and BA.5. Only about 12 percent of adults have opted for the latest shot.
“It’s not likely that any of the vaccines or boosters, no matter how many you get, will provide substantial and sustained protection against acquisition of infection.” Designing a vaccine for an evolving virus is a formidable challenge. Pfizer, Moderna and federal regulators had to choose which coronavirus variants to target earlier this year, so enough vaccine could be manufactured by the fall.
But BA.4 has all but disappeared. BA.5 now accounts for less than 30 percent of cases and is swiftly receding. BQ.1, on the other hand, has sent numbers soaring in Europe. That virus and its close relative, BQ.1.1, now account for 44 percent of coronavirus infections in the United States.
Recent research found that BQ.1.1 is roughly seven times as resistant to the body’s immune defenses as BA.5, and 175 times more so than the original coronavirus. “It has the most striking immune escape, and it’s also growing the most rapidly,” said Dr. Moore.
Air Purification: One of the Top 6 Tech Trends in the Restaurant Industry
As reported in Forbes
To increase health security, air quality and purification enters the minds of some guests. As a result, restaurants are focusing on upgrading air purification systems to improve air quality inside their restaurants.
Some restaurants opt for solutions that neutralize contaminants in the air. Although air purification concepts are still emerging in the restaurant industry, it is becoming an integral part of safety measure and you can expect to see more of it as we continue to learn to live with the threat of viruses.
These air purification measures are in addition to customers’ expectations that the staff sanitize the restaurant regularly and thoroughly before serving meals.
New Variants are Coming: A swarm of new subvariants are gaining ground in the U.S. ahead of winter
As reported in the New York Times
Several new Omicron subvariants have been steadily gaining ground in the U.S., setting off alarm bells ahead of fall and winter, when experts say we can expect to see another Covid surge.
They include BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, which currently account for 11 percent of cases in the U.S., up from about 3 percent two weeks ago. Other Omicron offshoots are also growing steadily, including BA.4.6, BF.7 and XBB, which has been spreading quickly in Singapore.
What do we need to know about these new variants?
All these variants are new versions of Omicron. Omicron showed up almost a year ago, it took over, and it’s been evolving ever since. Some of those mutations are making the variants able to get around the immunity that people may have gotten from being infected by the coronavirus before — even by earlier forms of Omicron.
How will these variants play out in the coming months?
It’s very hard to predict exactly what will happen, and it’s probably going to be different in different places. So one country may see one variant become dominant, and in another country, a different one may emerge. But the key thing is that there are a bunch of different versions of Omicron that are really good at spreading, and they have the potential to make a bad situation worse.
Winter is coming to the northern hemisphere, so a lot of people are going to be spending a lot of time inside with other people. A lot of people have also decided for themselves that the pandemic is over, and so there’s a lot less wearing of masks. On top of that, the immunity that people may have is waning. So even if there weren’t a lot of new Omicron variants to worry about, this could potentially be a challenging winter. These new variants make it even more concerning because they all have a lot of mutations that we already know are good for evading immunity and spreading quickly.
The Omicron surge last winter showed us that if a so-called mild variant infects a huge number of people, hospitalizations surge.
What if I’ve already been infected with Omicron?
As far as we can tell, that previous infection will give you some protection. But some protection means you could still get sick.
That’s a serious problem with these new variants. As the variants develop mutations that evade our immune systems, they are also becoming able to resist some of the monoclonal antibodies that have been so effective until now.
Companies have developed newer monoclonal antibodies that can work, but it takes a long time to get them through the approval process.
CASPR Compact Units Creating Safer Environments in 1,100 CVS MinuteClinic® Locations
As reported in the Observer June 27 2022
Since its founding in 2016, CASPR (Continuous Air; Surface Pathogen Reduction) Technologies has been a leader in smart environmental indoor technology for
healthcare and other spaces. The company’s solutions work to ensure the air we breathe is the safest it can be, adding to our well-being and enhancing our performance
in the process. Its award-winning, patent-pending NCC™ technology proactively and continuously disinfects indoor air and surfaces at the molecular level.
And while the company’s technology is based on work created for the medical industry, it has applications far beyond healthcare, to locations in retail, commercial real estate, institutions and more. Recently, CASPR has found itself returning to its medical roots in a new way, serving clients in the country’s largest chain of retail medical clinics with a major footprint in the American retail landscape.
CVS Health has installed CASPR technology in all of its more than 1,100 MinuteClinic® locations inside select CVS Pharmacy stores across 35 states and Washington, D.C. CASPR helps keep MinuteClinic safer by reducing harmful bacteria, viruses and other germs in the air and on surfaces.
CASPR works with the ambient air in your environment to create oxidizing molecules that neutralize pathogens in the air you breathe and on surfaces you touch. The technology was originally developed for use in hospital settings to prevent illnesses from being passed around between staff and patients and has been found to reduce hospital-acquired infections and employee absenteeism. Recently, an independent lab tested CASPR technology against air and surface purification units from two other companies and found that CASPR’s models topped out at a 99% reduction in pathogens compared to its competitors’ 45% reduction.
The models used in MinuteClinic are CASPR Compacts, a plug-and-play solution that does not require any installation. Despite its small footprint, it is still up to 99.96%
effective in reducing pathogens. Its silent and continuous operation provides full-size protection in a compact solution. CASPR Compacts sit on a pedestal that spells out what the technology is doing to keep MinuteClinic® patients and providers safer.
The CASPR Compacts were installed at MinuteClinic by New Hampshire-based Environmental Disinfection Solutions. Ken McCarthy, president of EDS, says he has installed the technology in a wide variety of businesses, ranging from MinuteClinic®, dialysis clinics, hospitals, schools, regional transportation and restaurants.
“We applaud CVS in taking the lead in providing a safer environment for the customers and employees,” McCarthy said. “Having real-world results makes it easy to be passionate about CASPR’s technology, and how it helps keep our people and indoor spaces safe.”
“With technology rooted in healthcare, our solutions are designed to bring peace of mind that comes with disinfected indoor spaces,” said Dr. Christophe Suchy, CTO and chief inventor at CASPR Technologies. “Being able to help protect MinuteClinic patients is a success story of which we’re really proud.”
Patients come to MinuteClinic for wellness essentials ranging from general physical exams, women’s services and vaccines to specialized care for chronic conditions such as diabetes and sleep apnea.
Angela Patterson, Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer, MinuteClinic and Vice President, CVS Health, says the providers she has talked to have been enthusiastic about CASPR’s presence in their clinics.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on everyone over the past two years, and at MinuteClinic, patient and provider safety has always been our highest priority. Our providers are so appreciative knowing their clinic setting is protected by CASPR’s unique technology,” she said. “And our patients can rest easy knowing we are doing everything in our power to keep them healthy.”
Virus mutations aren’t slowing down. New omicron subvariant proves it.
As reported in the Washington post MAY 2, 2022
During those terrifying early days of the pandemic, scientists offered one piece of reassuring news about the novel coronavirus: It mutated slowly. The earliest mutations did not appear to be consequential. A vaccine, if and when it was invented, might not need regular updating over time.
This proved overly optimistic.
The coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has had billions of chances to reconfigure itself as it has spread across the planet, and it continues to evolve, generating new variants and subvariants at a clip that has kept scientists on their toes. Two-and-a-half years after it first spilled into humans, the virus has repeatedly changed its structure and chemistry in ways that confound efforts to bring it fully under control.
And it’s not showing signs of settling down into a drowsy old age. Even with all the changes so far, it still has abundant evolutionary space to explore, according to virologists who are tracking it closely. What that means in practical terms is that a virus that’s already extremely contagious could become even more so.
The omicron subvariants keep coming: Scientists in South Africa have identified BA.4 and BA.5, which have mutations that were seen in earlier variants and are associated with immune evasion. Caseloads there are rising. New laboratory research, posted online Sunday but not yet peer-reviewed, indicated that the emerging subvariants are adept at eluding the neutralizing antibodies seen in people who recovered from infections with the original omicron variant. The authors of the study concluded that BA.4 and BA.5 have the “potential to result in a new infection wave.”
Omicron’s BA.2 variantis spreading around the world
As reported in the Washington post March 23, 2022
“A new version of the coronavirus is sweeping across the globe. Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant is already by far the world’s dominant form of the coronavirus, as recorded in the GISAID international repository of coronavirus genetic sequences analyzed.”
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that omicron BA.2 was more than a third of the covid cases in the United States. An uptick in coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe is attributed to the new version of the virus.”
“Some experts say a new wave could hit the United States amid relaxed safety protocols in the same way that delta hit last summer when many thought the coronavirus was finished.”
ANOTHER COVID SURGE MAY BE COMING. ARE WE READY FOR IT?
As reported in the New York Times March 21, 2022
“Scarcely two months after the Omicron variant drove coronavirus case numbers to frightening heights in the United States, scientists and health officials are bracing for another swell in the pandemic.”
“At local, state and federal levels, the nation has been relaxing restrictions and trying to restore a semblance of normalcy. Encouraging Americans to return to pre-pandemic routines, officials are lifting mask and vaccine mandates and showing no inclination of closing down offices, restaurants or theaters.”
“The clearest warnings that the brief period of quiet may soon be over have come, as they often have in the past two years, from Western Europe. In a number of countries, including Britain, France and Germany, case numbers are climbing as an even more contagious subvariant of Omicron, known as BA.2, takes hold.”
“BA.2 accounts for a growing proportion of infections. The subvariant is estimated to be 30 to 50 percent more contagious than the previous version of Omicron.”
Covid-19 update: Hong Kong mortuaries overwhelmed
Global: The global Covid death toll is nearing 6 million, with a figure of 5,998,853 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections have continued past 446 million worldwide.
US: Covid -19 infections have now passed 79 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has increased to more than 958,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The US will run out of Covid-19 treatments in the coming months. Without new funding from Congress, the US will run out of monoclonal antibody treatments by May and out of antiviral pills by September.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong reported 37,529 new daily Covid cases and 150 deaths, taking total fatalities in the fifth wave of the virus to 1,561. Hong Kong’s mortuaries are so overwhelmed they’re deploying mobile refrigeration units to store bodies, as scenes reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic play out amid the city’s worst Covid-19 wave yet.
New In-Duct Disinfection Technology
As reported In Manufacturing News July 1, 2021
CASPR Group has announced that its CASPR 1000 In-Duct disinfection technology kills 98% of SARS-CoV-2 viruses on surfaces within six hours and 99.99% within 24 hours, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“Unlike disinfection processes that use an episodic ultraviolet (UV) light or harmful chemicals, CASPR’s technology uses a proprietary Natural Catalytic Converter (NCC) process to naturally extract oxygen and moisture from ambient air and then produce and continuously deliver trace levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to disinfect indoor spaces,” said a company spokesperson. “The result is an automated and continuous reduction of air and surface viruses and bacteria in a way that is safe for use in spaces occupied with people and pets, and with no need to modify existing custodial processes.”
“Our natural disinfection technology is designed to reduce the microburden levels in any given space, while that space can still be used safely at its intended operating capacity with human occupancy,” said Dr. Christophe Suchy, President and Chief Technical Officer of CASPR Group. “We are excited that the University of Wisconsin study objectively shows that our technology can efficiently and effectively neutralize the virus that causes COVID-19.”
The CASPR 1000 is part of the CASPR Pro product line of HVAC in-duct solutions. Available in a variety of sizes, based on a target area’s square footage, all CASPR Pro line products offer the same output of hydrogen peroxide and can be expected to perform at the same optimal levels as outlined in the study. CASPR’s Medik and Compact+ solutions offer a stronger output that reduces harmful pathogens quicker, and are suitable for high-traffic spaces or environments where higher amounts of contagions may exist. Like all CASPR products, the healthcare-grade technologies are safe for people, pets and plants.
PPP Round Two expands the slate to cover funding for air purification technology.
The new COVID-19 relief bill includes $284 billion in funding to small businesses that continue to struggle in the face of surging COVID-19 cases via a second round of the Payroll Protection Program(PPP). This PPP Round Two expands the slate of expenses covered by the funding, this time recognizing the need for cleaner air in business settings. In addition to updating existing HVAC systems, qualified businesses appear to be able to use PPP funds to invest in other technologies that support employees returning to work (and, by extension, customers visiting businesses). This likely includes air purifiers that can capture the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the importance of which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) acknowledged earlier this year.
Specifically, the interim final rule provides that “[t]he proceeds of a PPP loan are to be used for […] covered worker protection expenditures […] related to the maintenance of standards for sanitation, social distancing, or any other worker or customer safety requirement related to COVID-19,” which may include ‘‘the purchase, maintenance, or renovation of assets that create or expand […] an indoor, outdoor, or combined air or air pressure ventilation or filtration system.”
Air and Surface UV-C Purification Provides Critical Protections For Your Customers and Employees.
A new CDC study found a strong correlation between allowing on-premise dining and the rise in coronavirus cases. The report was issued as more states and cities begin to loosen COVID-19 restrictions nationwide.
This week, multiple states and cities are lifting some of the stricter COVID-19 measures in light of decreasing rates, including face-covering mandates and business capacity limitations, for restaurants, retail businesses, fitness centers, and religious establishments.
A majority of consumers believe the pandemic will not end before Fall 2021, with many believing it will not end until much later. Now more than ever, disinfecting indoor air and surfaces is critical to protecting staff and customers. In laboratory tests, CASPR technology has proven effective against a wide variety of pathogens, bacteria, and viruses, including COVID.
House Passes $25B Restaurant & Bar Grant Program.
The House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan of 2021. The legislation includes $25 billion towards a grant program for struggling independent restaurants and bars, another step closer to securing relief for businesses and protecting 11 million jobs.
Modeled after the RESTAURANTS Act, the program would award grants to restaurants and bars with demonstrated losses for eligible operating expenses including: payroll, employee benefits, mortgage, rent, utilities, building maintenance and construction of outdoor facilities, personal protective equipment, sanitizing materials, food, and debt obligations to suppliers.
PurHygenics- “Getting People Back to Work and Back to Normal.”
Independent Restaurants See the Value in PurHygenics.
Small restaurants in the Southeast are finding that improving their Indoor Atmosphere is not a budget breaker. Working with PurHygenics, many small restaurants are improving the dining experience for their patrons while concurrently providing a healthier environment for workers and patrons. The product technologies available through PurHygenics allows us to meet the needs of single facilities, as well as large national chains.
PurHygenics- “Getting People Back to Work and Back to Normal.”
Municipalities Need CASPR.
City offices and Police departments are finding the need for continuous disinfection. We count on our city officials to keep life going, even during a Pandemic. Cities in the greater Miami Florida area are choosing PurHygenics and CASPR to provide maintenance free continuous disinfection. These units add confidence to Public Servants and the Public as they go about their daily lives.
PurHygenics- “Getting People Back to Work and Back to Normal.”
More Schools are Choosing PurHygenics.
Both Public and Private Schools are making the decision to improve the atmosphere of the inside of their classrooms. The PurHygenics Protocol for Schools provides a way to improve cleanliness and add confidence to teachers, students, administrators, and parents. Contact us on how we can improve your school.
PurHygenics- “Getting People Back to Work and Back to Normal.”
Ventilation and Air Filtration Play a Key Role in Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 Indoors.
>Do HEPA filters help?
Scientists say portable air cleaners (also called air purifiers) with HEPA filtration can remove virus particles that cause COVID-19
Portable HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) rated air filters remove more than 99 percent of airborne particles regardless of the particle size. When supplemental air cleaning is needed, in-room filter units containing HEPA filters are recommended because they remove nearly all particles in the size range of concern on a single pass.
>Does UVC ultraviolet light combat COVID-19 indoors?
Germicidal ultraviolet light (UVC) involves different wavelengths than UVA or UVB. UVC can be very effective at damaging viruses.
Germicidal UV has the ability to damage the DNA of microorganisms and they can no longer replicate. Coronavirus is very susceptible to germicidal UV, so if it’s irradiated for a certain amount of time it’s inactivated, and it can no longer infect you.
There are two air disinfection applications on the market.
One uses fixtures that are attached to the wall, and light is beamed overhead across a room. These “upper room” systems can reduce the amount of active virus in the air by an amount equal to 10 air changes per hour or more of outdoor air at a much lower energy cost.
The other application involves placing a UVC light in the recirculating air duct that takes air from the room you are in, irradiates it, then cycles the clean air back into that same room.
The Importance of Visible Hygiene Tech.
Within the concept of general hygiene, it is this idea of visible hygiene that has the ability to restore public confidence levels. If a hygiene product visibly keeps people safe, comfort levels are much greater than a company telling you they’ve maintained hygiene.
Suddenly, the technology landscape for hospitality shifts.
We’re not talking about expensive reboots of IT systems, or software that will take staff months to adapt to with little impact on the consumer. We’re talking about potentially inexpensive and easy-to-implement technologies, visibly reassuring consumers and equally applicable in sports stadia or conference halls. Such hygiene technology could also be deployed in individual premises allowing companies to road-test performance before any wider roll-out, and financial cost.
Ideally, that technology would also offer a grade of hygiene above and beyond what a traditional (human) cleaner could provide, given that staff cannot be everywhere all the time.
The best hygiene needs the best science and technology. Put these ingredients together and the hospitality industry can thrive again very quickly, and very inexpensively.
Florida Governor Signs Order Clearing Restaurants and Bars to Fully Open.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Friday allowing restaurants and bars to immediately begin operating at 100% capacity. The move means the state is transitioning into Phase 3 of reopening. The order treats restaurants and bars differently in terms of what local municipalities can do to restrict operations. “There will not be limitations, from the state of Florida,” he said.
If a local government Covid-19 emergency order limiting restaurant to less than 100% of its indoor capacity but above 50%, the government must explain why the limitation is necessary for public health and quantify the economic impact of the limits.
New York State Releases Guidance for Indoor Dining in New York City.
New York State has released guidance for indoor dining in New York City. Restaurants can resume indoor dining at 25% capacity on Sept. 30. The detailed guidance outlines restrictions that restaurants must comply with, including social distancing practices, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, restricted hours, health screenings, personal protection equipment, and air filtration systems. New York City will establish and deploy a team of 400 enforcement personnel to ensure businesses that offer indoor food services and dining in New York City comply with the detailed guidance. Additionally, the State has set up a hotline and online complaint form where individuals can report violations.
Each business is required to complete a safety plan, read the detailed guidelines, and complete the online business affirmation form before reopening.
Indoor Dining to Resume in New York City with Restrictions on Sept. 30
Governor Cuomo announced that the state will allow indoor dining to resume in New York City at 25% capacity on Sept. 30. Other restrictions for indoor dining in New York City include temperature checks at the door, no bar service (bars can only mix drinks and serve them tableside), tables spaced six feet apart, restaurants must close at midnight, restaurants must install enhanced air filtration, customers will need to provide contact information for tracing, and masks must be worn by customers when not seated at the table.
Purhygenics signs distribution agreement with CASPR group.
PurHygenics, LLC has announced that it has signed a distribution agreement with CASPR Group. The CASPR Group has developed technology with safe, natural purifiers that actively seek out and eliminate indoor air pollution and illness-causing pathogens on surfaces. With a kill rate of up to 99.96%, CASPR is effective against bacteria, viruses, molds, VOCs, odors and more.
John Friddle, president of PurHygenics, commented “CASPR is the perfect addition to PurHygenics’ stable of solutions. Our goal is to get American business back to pre-COVID-19 quarantine levels and CASPR products will play a big part in getting the country back quickly and safely.”
With regard to the PurHygenics and CASPR collaboration, Scott Wheeler, Chief Operating Officer of CASPR Group, commented “We’re excited to add PurHygenics to our list of distributors. They will be crucial in helping us to get CASPR Group solutions to more businesses. Together, we can help more people stay healthy and get back to work in a safer manner.”
PurHygenics provides solutions for multiple industries including restaurants, schools and universities, hospitality, and all businesses that are ramping up their return from COVID quarantine.