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"The Kronos device has successfully sterilized air contaminated with Bac.anthracis K-79Z (anthrax) and E.coli M-17 (E.coli)," said A.I. Zaviryukha, head of Bacteriology Laboratory, who led the study at the Institute. "We also believe, based on these findings, the Kronos device is capable of sterilizing air that may be contaminated with other microflora, which both produces spores and does not produce spores. Such other microflora can include avian (bird) flu and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome associated corona virus (SARS-CoV)."
"The significance of these findings is that if Kronos is able to rupture the bacterial cell wall and membrane through an electrical field, then it is highly probable that the electrical field could also kill other enveloped viruses," said Dr. Kevin Harris, senior virologist at Koronis Pharmaceuticals, and a member of the American Society of Virology. "Examples of clinically relevant enveloped viruses are Influenza - including Avian (bird) flu, SARS, West Nile Virus, HIV and Hepatitis C Virus, among others."
The Institute's findings come at a time of growing worldwide concern about a potential bird flu pandemic and questions about the ability and availability of vaccines. President Bush has asked Congress for and additional $7.1 billion, which will primarily be used to expedite the production of vaccines and development of anti-virals. However, the approach has drawn criticism from medical leaders and public officials, given the time required to produce vaccines, difficulty in producing a vaccine prior to a pandemic and fact that an influenza strain has many variants which can mutate rapidly, thus making a vaccine that was developed for one strain of a virus, ineffective against another.
"There are obvious and significant implications in these findings for both the U.S. government as well as industry leaders who want to find alternative solutions to vaccines that will enhance protection and prevent the spread of disease - whether it be Avian Flu, SARS or something else," said Daniel R. Dwight, chief Executive officer of Kronos Advanced Technologies. "We are in discussions with a number of industry leaders and have developed prototypes for others."
The airline industry is of particular concern. Industry reports have noted that some carriers lost up to half their business during the SARS outbreak in 2003. Virgin Atlantic Airlines recently announced that it had purchased 10,000 courses of the Tamiflu vaccine and is investigating technologies that will kill germs in anticipation of a pandemic.
Both Dr. Harris and Dr. Zaviryukha have recommended further testing and evaluation of the Kronos technology in the U.S. to determine the technology's complete capability to provide enhanced protection in the event of a potential outbreak of a flu pandemic or a biological attack.
The Kronos technology moves, filters and purifies air by using state-of-the-art high voltage electrodes rather than filters or fans. The technology can be embedded across existing environments, retro-fitted into any existing ventilation system, or built as a standalone product. Since the technology has no moving parts, replacement costs and energy consumption levels are less, which enables residential and commercial buildings that have not installed air filtration systems -- an estimated 85 percent of the total U.S. market, to leverage the technology as well.
Kronos is actively pursuing the commercialization of its technology with leaders in their respective industries. Current strategic partners include leaders in the aircraft, automotive, residential and military markets.