Washing hands as kids whenever we came home from outside was always considered a good habit, one that no doubt was further enforced by using disinfectants whenever we entered a building, room or even our cars, during the past three years.
In fact (and contrary to the popular and quite religious belief that infectious diseases were beaten by mass vaccinations or modern medicines), it was actually the rise of good hygiene as the single biggest cause for the eradication of such diseases in the 20th century.
However, it should be pointed out that even today at the beginning of the 21st century, 2.5 million Europeans die of hospital infections every year, of which up to 50% could have been avoided through optimized hygiene measures.
Hygienic hand disinfection therefore is still of outstanding relevance and an essential part of the foundation on which the care of patients and the therapy of diseases is based through clinical measures.
That said, we may have overdone it a bit with hygienic measures in recent history, especially when it comes to so-called disinfectants. Their overuse can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. When disinfectants are used excessively, they can kill off the weaker microorganisms while allowing the stronger ones to survive and multiply. This can lead to the evolution of bacteria that are resistant to the disinfectants being used, making it more difficult to control the spread of infections.
A bit of History
When looking at the history of disinfection, chlorinated lime was used as an active ingredient in the first tests by Ignaz Semmelweis in the 19th century, but because of its (understandable) skin-damaging effects, shortly after phenol solutions (carbol) were used instead of chlorine compounds. This was the beginning of aseptic work, which leads to the state of absence of infectivity, known as asepsis. Because of its toxic nature however, phenol was replaced with alocohol in the beginning of the 20th century and so now for more than 100 years, alcohol has been the main active ingredient in practically all means of hygienic hand disinfection.
The problem with any kind of liquid disinfectants (i.e. alcohol based) is the proper usage. Hands must be completely dry before an application and if used frequently, skin irritations are a given for the vast majority of people. Not to forget that in order for your alcohol rub to be successful, you’re actually supposed to perform the “6-step scheme" according to EN 1500 — which most people just don’t do.
Other concerns are the toxic effects of various disinfectants on human health. Certain disinfectants contain additional chemicals which can cause irritation and damage to the skin and eyes. Some release harmful fumes (especially when mixed with other cleaning products), leading to respiratory problems and other health issues and are harmful if ingested or inhaled.
Prolonged exposure to such disinfectants can even cause long-term health effects, such as cancer and neurological damage. For instance, some disinfectants contain quaternary ammonium compounds (QUATs) that are known to be toxic. Other common disinfectants like triclosan and triclocarban have also been linked to health issues such as antibiotic resistance, hormone disruption and other toxic effects.
Where’s the innovation when we most need it? Turns out, there is plenty.
Plasma — Ozone
At first, I found my new inventor friend “Timon”. His approach is using the germ-inactivating effects of reaction products (primarily hydroxyl radicals) from oxygen and water vapor, which has been known since the 2000s.
They have an interesting property — their oxidizing and thus destructive effect on microorganisms (mainly bacteria, fungi and enveloped viruses) doesn’t affect higher cell structures (tissue) and higher organisms (plants, animals and humans) and no acutely toxic or chronically toxic effect on humans is known. But watch the video and meet this wonderful young inventor yourself:
As you can see, these hydroxyl radicals are generated from ambient air by a low-temperature atmospheric plasma. This ambient air contains all the necessary educts for the plasma reaction in the form of oxygen and water vapor — it’s really that simple! So why isn’t it available for use everywhere?
Well, the plasma disinfection approach is a physical-chemical process that primarily takes place in the gas phase. Since hand disinfection has always been liquid / chemical, such a procedure is not easily comparable to and mostly not even provided for the appropriate reference lists at governance and compliance levels. Yet the following expert assessment report re-affirms what science already knows for well over two decades.
“The disinfection process in the Plasma Hand Sanitizer is equivalent to the alcohol-based disinfection process according to the RKI list. Since the germ density of the hands in cohort B is not higher than the germ density in cohort A, but rather lower, this shows that the effectiveness of the plasma disinfection process in terms of disinfection from a microbiological specialist point of view is certain.” — Dr. med. Ulrich F. Schmelz, expert specialist in medical microbiology and infection epidemiology
In addition to its mere effectiveness, there are other process-related advantages when using this plasma based hand sanitizer technology:
It works independent of the moisture content of the hands. Hands that have just been washed can also be disinfected.
No irritating or barrier-disrupting effects have been observed. Former “skin disinfection” could now be referred to as a "skin care" process.
The uniformal way of wetting the hands is gapless, which isn’t the case with alcoholic or other liquid hand disinfectants.
The same technology can be used in many different applications — i.e. in rooms, cars, gondolas, etc. — so it’s not just for hand sanitization, but for larger areas in public spaces as well:
If you’re interested to learn more about this invention, or would like to take part in a podcast with the founder and inventor, please express your interest here and I’ll be happy to arrange.
If you’d like to buy any of Timon’s plasma technology based disinfection devices and are a premium subscriber on my Substack, you’ll automatically get $100 off.
In my day to day work with inventors around patents and intellectual property, it is hard to witness that some of the best innovations and most purposeful technologies never see the light of day, as is the examples with Far-UVC lights:
Potentially one of our best defenses throughout the pandemic hasn't seen the light of day. A consortium of companies has formed a coalition to protect America's right to innovate from the seeds of common knowledge. Those not aware of this Far UVC light technology can thank several frivolous lawsuits for suppressing and manipulating life-saving technology aided by patent trolls weaponizing the US patent office. — Katie Webb, Principal CEO at Quanta X Technology
But what exactly are Far-UVC Lights and what’s the technology behind it? Hear it from the inventor, Prof. Victor Tarasenko yourself:
You may be familiar with UV (ultraviolet) lights being used in solariums and with UV-”C” in particular when it comes to the aspect of disinfection. Conventional “germicidal” ultraviolet lights (UVC) have actually been used for decades to disinfect unoccupied spaces. However you may also have heard that too much or too strong UV light can cause cancer, so a direct exposure to conventional UVC lamps is not possible (especially in occupied public spaces) as it could be a health hazard due to its wavelength of 254 nm not being safe for human exposure.
To overcome this limitation, researchers at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center have been investigating Far-UVC light (at 222 nm wavelength), which cannot penetrate the tear layer of the eye or the outer dead-cell layer of skin — so it cannot reach or damage living cells in the body, making it safe for use in occupied indoor public spaces.
Why is it relevant?
Far-UVC lights are extremely effective at killing airborne viruses. They have been shown to kill more than 99.9% of seasonal coronaviruses present in airborne droplets, making them a promising solution for reducing the risk of person-to-person transmission of viruses. It’s quite feasible to use overhead Far-UVC lamps in occupied indoor public places to reduce the risk of person-to-person transmission of viruses.
“Prevention is better than Panic” — Conrad Kullmann, FAR UVC AFRICA
The researchers further estimated that continuous exposure to Far-UVC light at the current regulatory limit would kill 90% of airborne viruses in about 8 minutes, 95% in about 11 minutes, 99% in about 16 minutes, and 99.9% in about 25 minutes. They used a misting device to aerosolize two common coronaviruses and then flowed the aerosols through the air in front of a Far-UVC lamp. After exposure to Far-UVC light, the researchers tested to see how many of the viruses were still alive. The results were remarkable, with more than 99.9% of the exposed virus being killed — even by just a very low exposure to Far-UVC light.
Despite these obvious successes in the research and development of 222 nm based far-UVC lights, regulations for AP-UVGI (Active Personnel Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation) applications have not yet caught up with science. This combined with the ongoing IP disputes is currently delaying a successful launch of this amazing technology.
If you’d like to have access to reliable sources and manufacturers of Far-UVC 222nm devices, become a premium subscriber on my Substack. I’ll personally introduce you and explain what matters and how to go about it safely under the current circumstances.
I found some great solutions at various crowdfunding campaigns over the course of the past years. The latest one I’ve actively supported is “Shelfy” — a really cool idea to keep your refrigerator clean and your food fresh and longer lasting:
It’s definitely worth checking out some of these campaigns as there are some very innovative solutions, not (yet) available in mainstream stores and online shops.
The cheapest, simplest and quite possibly most efficient way to quickly disinfect your fridge, house and office is reserved for premium subscribers in the following section. It’s how I managed the past three years without any major infections and kept a sane mind.
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