If Sanosil’s Halo Disinfection System — a fogger machine the size of a golf bag — can stop the spread of infectious spores and viruses at hospitals, daycares and assisted-living facilities, then why not use it to keep the Ebola virus from spreading? (We took a closer look at Sanosil’s work in August.)
That’s exactly the reason David St.Clair, the chairman of the New Castle-based biotech startup, is looking to get his product to West Africa.
Six machines have been shipped to Nigeria and 100 more are on the way, St.Clair said. He said he anticipates selling additional fogger machines — at $7,000 each — to Nigeria.
“Nigeria at this point is not in the midst of a big outbreak. They are relatively close to Liberia and Sierra Leone,” St.Clair said. “They just think its a matter of time and want to be prepared.”
Because Nigeria has a more developed economy, St.Clair said, their infrastructure can support the purchase of these machines, which are being used in hospitals and clinics to sanitize patient rooms and keep any and all infectious spores from spreading.
Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, he said, do not have the same access to these products. That’s why Sanosil is lobbying the U.S. government, nonprofits, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to get these sanitizing machines to the African coast.
“A person who made it to Dallas [with Ebola] — the developed world has its own best interest to control the epidemic in West Africa,” St.Clair said. “We are trying to engage the U.S. government and the CDC in a conversation about how this technology might be used to curtail the epidemics in West Africa. So far, we’ve gotten no where. It’s a bureaucratic process and no one has been able to pay attention yet.”
All of Sanosil’s products are backed by the EPA and regulated. And although the fogger machine — which disinfects a room with the push of a button and emits a mist that sanitizes the entire room — isn’t approved to specifically stop the spread of Ebola, it can do so, St.Clair said.
“If it can kill the neuro virus and influenza, it can kill Ebola. No one has been able to test against Ebola since it’s deemed to be too new,” St. Clair said. “It’s exactly the same thing — using it to fight the Ebola virus is the same as Enterovirus D68 [a respiratory pathogen] or MRSA. It’s exactly the same process and the same chemistry.”
St.Clair said he hopes the countries that need sanitization from disease — not only in hospitals, but on buses and other public buildings — can get the help they need.
“It’s obviously for us, a very important thing. Not financially. It’s something that needs to be controlled. We all have a responsibility to save communities,” St.Clair said.