The Fight Against COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic presented numerous challenges to the healthcare world in 2020. The importance of preventing healthcare workers from exposure lead to a higher demand for testing capacity and engineering. This obstacle presented new and unique challenges for testing facilities and front-line workers. The overnight need for testing resources meant: reagents for RT-PCR testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) were in short supply. The shortage put a highlighted focus on ways to conserve limited supplies.
We are working tirelessly to provide existing products used in PCR testing and develop new innovative solutions. With over 28 years of experience, AirClean Systems guarantees products that are supported by science to help combat COVID-19.
Recently, RT-PCR is a common term across the media regarding testing for COVID-19. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is a more applicable tool than diagnostic testing because of its' ability to replicate small samples of genetic material into larger volumes faster. RT-PCR commonly employs genomics, forensics, and life sciences. Link to the article explaining PCR.
PCR testing for COVID-19 was created to locate RNA specific to the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, in the body and amplify it for extremely sensitive results. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is similar to the genetic material found in human DNA. It is the genetic code for some viruses like SARS-CoV-2. Since this process relies on replication and amplification, any contamination may lead to inconclusive results or false positives.
AirClean Systems' Combination PCR Workstation provides a positive pressure clean environment and keeps samples free from cross-contamination. The positive pressure ISO 5 environment permits a separate area for preparing master mixes, the solution used in PCR amplification. This greatly reduces the risks of sample contamination, saves precious reagents, and minimizes incorrect and inconclusive results.
Biological Safety Workstations
While PCR offers a great way to protect master mixes during preparation, positive pressure environments do not address the risks when handling samples that contain a potentially live virus. Samples such as nasopharyngeal swabs or sputum, may put frontline workers at risk of exposure, especially when conducting procedures with the potential to produce aerosols or droplets.
Biological safety cabinets, such as the AirClean® Systems Class I Biological Safety Workstation, offer a negative pressure environment in which to perform higher-risk activities, such as pipetting or centrifuging of samples. By using high-efficiency particulate filtration that is 99.997% effective at 0.3 microns, air can safely be recirculated into the room. This helps safeguard the health of any workers in the lab.
The AirClean Systems Class I Biological Safety Workstation also provides a UV light for surface disinfection between uses. Powerful UV-C irradiation helps to denature RNA/DNA in microorganisms, rendering them inactive. By engaging the light between procedures or handlings, the UV light can help prevent cross-contamination within the unit.
UV Light Box
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a widespread shortage of PPE around the world, especially N95 respirator face masks. Understanding these difficult challenges, AirClean Systems worked overtime to create a product backed by science. The UV Light Box is designed with a low profile and utilizes thermally welded polypropylene to ensure even surface irradiation of PPE and other products, while remaining easy to clean.
Studies have shown that, much like other coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 has a sensitivity to UV-C irradiation. Short wavelength irradiation denatures the RNA structure within the virus rendering it inactive. The design process for AirClean Systems' UV Light Box focused on providing enough UV-C irradiation to safely decontaminate N95 respirators. Some of the scientific backing for this product is influenced by N95DECON, a group of scientists, engineers, clinicians, students, and others seeking to disseminate scientific information about N95 decontamination.
The UV Light Box offers a simple and safe operation. The UVTect™ Controller provides operator protection by automatically disengaging the UV light when the sash is raised. This feature prevents exposure to potentially harmful irradiation. The user-friendly keypad also allows the operator to easily toggle the time for the UV light to allow for shorter irradiation times suitable for surface disinfection.
Since the pandemic, we have used our resources and experience to address the various concerns brought about by COVID-19. Whether using PCR workstations to minimize false positives, protecting operators from potentially hazardous samples, or ensure reagents are not wasted, AirClean Systems has adapted existing products to increase crucial testing capacity.
The UV Light Box has helped address new concerns as PPE supplies have become scarce and new tools need to disinfect surfaces quickly. As these changes occurred, AirClean Systems' commitment to quality products made in America never wavered. Our facility increased production and kept prices steady to meet demand. AirClean Systems looks forward to embracing 2021. Our team remains hopeful the New Year will see an end to this pandemic.