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Biosecurity

There are no known micro-organisms which, given the correct dose can survive exposure to Ultra-violet “C” (UVC).

This makes UVC in HVAC systems* a key frontline solution to help protect people in crowded buildings and spaces against biological agents in a bioterrorist attack (or indeed a natural epidemic).
* Correctly purpose-specified and installed.

HVAC systems are the “lungs” of buildings, a distribution “super-highway” for biological agents and a major point of vulnerability.**

Biosecurity, defined as:
“Security against the inadvertent, inappropriate, or intentional malicious or malevolent use of potentially dangerous biological agents or biotechnology.”
(Source: US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine)

The two main biosecurity threats today are:

  • Bioterrorism – deliberate, targeted release of biological agents
  • Epidemics and/or pandemics due to inadvertent release of biological agents or natural causes e.g. flu, norovirus

A Biological Agent is defined as:

  • A bacterium, virus, protozoan, parasite or fungus which can be used purposefully as a weapon in bioterrorism or biological warfare.
  • In addition to these living and/or replicating pathogens, biological toxins are also included among the bio-agents.

The Dreadful Impact of Bioterrorism

  • Unlike the instant carnage and “traumatic shock” of explosives (Brussels), weapons and vehicles (Paris, Nice) or the release of poisonous gases (SARIN, Tokyo 1995), biological agents released into the air are potentially far more lethal.
  • They not only infect front-line victims oblivious to what’s happening, they may also render those victims infectious and/or contagious, spreading deadly contagion into the community and homes.
  • Most biological agents are silent, invisible, odourless and largely undetectable in the air except by advanced monitoring equipment
  • Easily and discreetly carried, even very quantities can have a massive impact
  • Biological contamination may remain for months creating “no go” areas in strategic buildings and locations
  • The full lethal impact of biological agents may not peak for several weeks after the initial release.
  • Potential to create mass panic and seriously disrupt economic activity and could virtually destroy the ability of some organisations to function at all.

 

Examples of Potential Targets – Crowded Spaces!!  

  • Prime government offices
  • Local authorities offices
  • Financial institutions – banks, insurance, fund managers
  • Trading floors
  • Call and communication centres
  • Commercial head offices/administration
  • Transport administration
  • Hospitals
  • Shopping centres
  • (Data centres)
  • Theatres and cinemas
  • Sports stadia and leisure arenas
  • Metro systems
  • Train stations
  • Airports

 

**References:

  1. UK Government’s report “Precautions to minimise effects of a Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear Event on Buildings and Infrastructure”
  2. US Homeland Security and FBI report, “Potential Terrorist Attack Methods” April 23 2008