29 Sep 2020
Interview with an infectologist: why are BioSafe solutions effective?

With the emergence of the pandemic, numerous areas have perceived the need to adapt. The transport segment was no different. The more people crowded together in a space, the more it needed to change and adapt. Therefore, adapting to public means of transport was quite a challenge.

How can people continue to be transported from one place to another, ensuring the protection, safety and health of everyone involved in this process? It was with this in mind that the company Marcopolo developed BioSafe: a platform for biosafety solutions, focused on offering innovations and specialized technologies, making collective transport and public and private spaces more protected and safer.

Discover BioSafe solutions

– Restroom system with ultraviolet light (UV-C): with sterilization properties, UV-C radiation is found inside the restroom, ensuring safety in the environment and self-disinfection;

– Physical barrier: shield that protects the driver when passengers are boarding and exiting;

– Antimicrobial covers and curtains: made with a “smart” material, developed to prevent contagion, the antimicrobial covers and curtains prevent the proliferation of microorganisms;

– Hand sanitizer dispenser: available right at the entrance of the vehicles for everyone who uses transportation.

Are BioSafe solutions effective?
To find out if the solutions presented by the BioSafe platform really work and are effective in preventing COVID-19, we interviewed Dr. Cláudia Wollheim, associate professor of Microbiology, coordinator and technician in charge of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory. Check out the interview:

– Are Marcopolo’s BioSafe solutions really effective?
They promote biosafety in collective transport, as they are a set of varied measures aimed at the prevention, minimization or elimination of risks related to the transmission of infectious diseases.

– Why is one of the solutions the presence of ultraviolet light (UV-C) in restrooms? How does it work and how does it help with disinfection?
The restroom is a place where contamination with infectious microorganisms can occur directly or indirectly. Hands, for example, are an important source of transmission, which can occur through the handle, toilet, faucet, flush valve, among others. Flushing without putting the seat cover down is another central point for the spread of microorganisms.

The use of type C ultraviolet radiation can be an additional measure for environmental disinfection of restrooms, which acts in the microbiological control of the air as well as the surfaces. UV-C radiation, emitted by special bulbs, is a physical mechanism in which microbial inactivation occurs by absorbing light. This absorption promotes a photochemical reaction capable of altering molecular components essential for cellular functions, causing damage to nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and, consequently, the death of infectious agents such as bacteria, fungi and viruses.

It is important to emphasize that the use of this solution does not replace cleaning the environment. The surface of a dirty restroom can become an ideal place for microorganisms to grow and develop.

– Does the physical barrier for the driver really make a difference in protecting them and the passengers? Why?
The dynamics of the novel coronavirus pandemic show that transmission occurs from person to person, either through direct contagion (being close to infected individuals) or through indirect contagion (through surfaces and objects contaminated mainly through the coughing and sneezing of infected individuals).

Therefore yes, physical barriers are resources that reduce contagion between people through respiratory secretions and saliva. For this, they need to be made of waterproof material and be easy to clean, such as acrylic or glass.

– How do antimicrobial properties work on seat covers and curtains?
Antimicrobial additives are synthetic compounds that can be organic or inorganic. They kill or inhibit the growth of microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria and fungi. These additives can be incorporated into different materials, in the form of antimicrobial microparticles and nanoparticles.

Organic additives act by migrating the active component to the surface of the part forming a film that is replaced by new migrations as the additives are consumed. Inorganic agents use metal ions – such as silver, zinc and copper – and are generally not eliminated in the medium, causing a more lasting antimicrobial effect.

Several factors can affect the antimicrobial activity of the additives, such as the process of incorporation into the material, its concentration, characteristics of the additive particles, the surface area of action, the activity in synergy with other antimicrobial agents and the type of target microorganism.

– Does the hand sanitizer available to passengers at the entrance of vehicles make a difference in preventing possible transmissions?
It is recognized that good hand hygiene significantly reduces the transmission of microorganisms and, consequently, decreases the incidence of preventable infections. When used correctly, this antiseptic is effective in fighting contamination and reduces the presence of microorganisms harmful to health, such as viruses and bacteria.

It is important to remember that the concentration (70%), the amount applied and the technique used are important factors in the efficiency of the product, and that it can be inefficient on very dirty hands. In this case, it is recommended to always wash with soap and water beforehand.

– Are these solutions only effective against COVID-19 or other diseases as well?
These biosafety measures are also effective for other infectious diseases transmitted through airborne droplets, such as colds, flu, among other pathologies. The solutions can also be effective for diseases that are transmitted through direct and indirect contact.

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Vinicius Pauletti