While COVID-19 is top of mind and currently of greatest concern as an infection control issue, it’s one of many pathogens potentially present in any healthcare setting, says HealthFirst medical advisor Dr. Fiona Collins. She presented during a Henry Schein Dental webinar panel that included former federal government health policy advisor Dr. Deborah Birx.
“There are plenty of other microorganisms where aerosol transmission plays a role,” says Dr. Collins, citing several studies that identified well-known microorganisms in healthcare settings, such as Respiratory Synctial Virus (RSV), Candida auris, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, influenza viruses, and several other viruses.
Dr. Birx, who served on the White House Coronavirus Task Force in 2020 and 2021, gave context to the current risk to patients and staff with information on the Delta variant and COVID-19 cases resurging. With the Delta variant at least three times more contagious than earlier strains—and the unvaccinated population at almost 30%–medical offices shouldconsider extra precautions. “Consider extra steps to protect your employees and clients from persistent aerosol clouds of virus,” Dr. Birx said. “Pay special attention to break rooms and any location staff will be unmasked. Increase protection and limit occupancy.”
Moderated by HealthFirst Clinical Director Dr. Don Cohen, the panel explored advanced technology currently available to help offices reduce airborne spread of pathogens. Dr. Collins explained the types of adjunctive devices on the market, including intraoral and extraoral suction, filtration devices, and other adjuncts.
For continuous, proactive indoor air protection, ActivePure® offers a two-phase approach that NASA has recognized as a Certified Space Technology. The panel highlighted key features of the patented ActivePure technology, which creates protective molecules to continuously fill indoor spaces where they seek out and destroy pathogens.
“This technology is continuous, has been FDA approved, and has been studied not only in the laboratory but in real life scenarios. They go into schools, prisons, into commercial buildings, and study before and after ActivePure installation… to ensure the microbes are no longer there after installation,” Dr. Birx stated.
In conclusion, Dr. Birx encouraged medical offices to explore adjunctive infection control and prevention methods and protocols that make sense to their duty to protect others.
COVID has changed the world such that, “I don’t think any client or patient any longer will accept getting even a cold from being exposed indoors to potentially other peoples’ virus. No one is going to accept getting RSV, flu, certainly not tuberculosis, or COVID in indoor settings. That’s why we’re interested in what we can do to ensure safe air.”
HealthFirst is the authorized sole distributor of ActivePure to dental offices. Dr. Birx is chief medical and scientific advisor for ActivePure Technologies.