Nasal photo-disinfection reduces COVID-19 rates at Canadian meat processing plant - study

The study was conducted in Western Canada
calendar icon 6 July 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Newly published results show treatment with Ondine’s nasal photo-disinfection dramatically reduced COVID-19 rates at Canadian meat processing plant, according to a company press release.

Weekly nasal photo-disinfection of 1,500 workers in a meat processing plant in Western Canada reduced infection to only three positive PCR tests out of over 21,000 administered during a seven-month period (December 2020 to May 2021). The expected provincial rate was 1,344 positive tests (6.4% positive detection rate).

No serious side effects from the nasal photo-disinfection were recorded.

Prior to the availability of vaccines, global meat processing plants were adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic due to close working conditions, with many Canadian meat processing plants experiencing severe disruption or closure.

    Newly published research in the journal Public Health Practice shows that a weekly program of nasal photo-disinfection implemented at a major Western Canada meat packing plant, alongside standard safety measures recommended by the US Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention, reduced the expected COVID-19 positivity rate by over 99%, from 1,344 expected positive PCR tests to 3 positive PCR tests out of over 21,000 administered tests over a seven-month period.

    Meat processing plants worldwide experienced a disproportionately greater incidence of COVID-19 than surrounding communities, despite implementing safety precautions.

    The extraordinary reduction in the COVID-19 positivity rate permitted the plant to continue to operate without shutdown or disruption. Authors also noted that COVID-19 rates were lowered in populations surrounding the plant, potentially as a result of reduced transmission from the large worker population to the community. The voluntary, five-minute treatment was well received by the workforce, with a compliance rate of over 75% by the end of the seven-month study. No serious side effects from nasal photo-disinfection were reported.

    “This study suggests that nasal photodisinfection can provide safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 viral suppression when deployed in an industrial workplace setting," said professor Richard Rusk from the University of Manitoba and a joint author of the paper. "Outcomes of the study demonstrated significant reduction of COVID-19 rates compared to surrounding community rates, implying substantially reduced acute and long-term illness, disability, and death rates in plant employees. The intervention proved safe with repeated weekly administrations and was easy to implement and well received by the workforce. This has strong positive implications for viral outbreak suppression in other industries and employee demographics across the world.”

    “Nasal photo-disinfection has been used in hospitals across Canada for the past ten years, significantly reducing surgical site infections and readmission rates," said Carolyn Cross, CEO of Ondine. "This independent study extends experience with the technology to enterprise facilities and confirms the importance of nasal decolonisation to infection control of essential workers during a pandemic."

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