Treatment with Ondine’s nasal photodisinfection “dramatically reduced” COVID-19 rates at meat processing plants across the waters in Canada, new research shows, writes farming journalist, Catherina Cunnane.
A weekly programme of nasal photodisinfection of 1,500 workers was implemented at a major Western Canada meat processing plant.
This was combined with standard safety measures, as recommended by the US Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC).
The measures reduced the expected COVID-19 positivity rate by over 99%, from 1,344 expected positive PCR tests to 3 positive PCR tests out of over 21,000 administered tests over seven months from December 2020 to May 2021.
The expected provincial rate was 1,344 positive tests (6.4% positive detection rate).
No serious side effects from the nasal photodisinfection were recorded, according to the newly published research in the journal, Public Health Practice.
Before the availability of vaccines, global meat processing plants were adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic due to close working conditions, with many severe disruption or closure.
Meat processing plants worldwide experienced a disproportionately greater incidence of COVID-19 than surrounding communities, despite implementing safety precautions, the report adds.
The extraordinary reduction in the COVID-19 positivity rate permitted the plant to continue to operate without shutdown or disruption.
Authors also noted that COVID-19 rates were lowered in populations surrounding the plant, potentially as a result of reduced transmission from the large worker population to the community.
The voluntary, five-minute treatment was “well received” by the workforce, with a compliance rate of over 75% by the end of the seven-month study.
Professor Richard Rusk from the University of Manitoba and a joint author of the paper commented that this study suggests that nasal photodisinfection can provide “safe and effective” SARS-CoV-2 viral suppression when deployed in an industrial workplace setting.
“Outcomes of the study demonstrated significant reduction of COVID-19 rates compared to surrounding community rates, implying substantially reduced acute and long-term illness, disability, and death rates in plant employees. “
“The intervention proved safe with repeated weekly administrations and was easy to implement and well received by the workforce. “
“This has strong positive implications for viral outbreak suppression in other industries and employee demographics across the world.”
Carolyn Cross, CEO of Ondine, commented that nasal photodisinfection has been used in hospitals across Canada for the past ten years, significantly reducing surgical site infections and readmission rates.
This independent study extends experience with the technology to enterprise facilities and confirms the importance of nasal decolonisation to infection control of essential workers during a pandemic, Cross added.
Outcomes of this study mirrored results found by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (University Hospital Network, Toronto), as well as the University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain) where substantial reduction of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity was found in treated patients.
As broad-spectrum photodisinfection can efficiently destroy viruses, bacteria, and fungi, authors speculate that treated patients received peripheral benefits beyond infectivity control, extending to risk reduction of more severe pulmonary disease.
So how exactly does it work?
Take a look at this video from Ondine Biomedical Inc:
Steriwave Photodisinfection in Vancouver General Hospital from Ondine Biomedical Inc. on Vimeo.