A powerful air-sterilization device has been developed at UB to combat infections in hospitals and protect soldiers from biological attack.
The BioBlower rapidly and continuously eradicates airborne pathogens, such as avian flu, SARS and influenza viruses, as well as airborne biological pathogens, such as anthrax.
So far, the technology has proved successful in killing every biological agent with which it has been challenged. In independent tests conducted for the U.S. Department of Defense, it killed airborne spores, viruses and bacteria to a level of better than one part per million.
“That’s better than any conventional technology on the market,” says James F. Garvey, PhD, UB professor of chemistry, who invented the BioBlower with John Lordi, PhD, research professor in the UB Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “When we input one million live, active spores of a thermally resistant bacterium into the BioBlower, only one live spore comes out.”
Through compressive heating and pressure oscillations that break up and kill pathogens, the BioBlower’s dual-use technology is expected to eradicate even the smallest of airborne biological pathogens, including pollen and mold.
The technology is inherently scalable. Once it is a permanently installed feature of an air-handling system, it can create sterile environments anywhere—from government buildings to mass transit systems to military bases.
Applied to health care, the BioBlower could be a powerful antidote to hospital-acquired infections, which kill 100,000 people a year.
The BioBlower represents a significant improvement over current air-sterilization technology, which involves the use of high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.
“With HEPA filters, the spores are still alive, once they're collected, waiting to infect somebody,” Garvey explains. “We kill them at the source.”