I recently read an article in the wall street journal looking into the future of communal spaces where people congregate, office, shops, airports, schools, hospitals etc. The article outlined several technologies that different companies are introducing, all intending to keep patients, employees, and customer safe by destroying (technically known as ‘inactivate’) viruses in the air and on surfaces.

The article points out that modern builds, in search of efficiency, recycle air to a point where the quality inside some of our building is worse than the pollution outside.

Technologies discussed include:

Photo-hydro ionization, ‘positively and negatively charged molecules—that can inactivate airborne pathogens they collide with.’

High-frequency ultraviolet light, known as UVC, this technology has been used for years to disinfect areas, but it is harmful to humans, so is only used in areas there aren’t any, such as enclosed HVAC systems or in operating theatres when they are not in use overnight.

FAR-UV, again, this has been used for many years, but in the case of FAR-UV, the science indicates it is safe for humans. Dr Brenner from Columbia University Irving Medical Center has conducted experiments on mice for a year and on human volunteers and is about to release his finding, which he indicates are positive.

Christopher Mims, concludes that businesses face a catch 22 situation, is now a good time to make this investment while social distancing and working from home is still in operation. If they do not invest, will people feel safe enough to go back to work and shops, ride public transport or attend sporting or music events?

Then there are the repeated warnings from scientists of further pandemics. SARS then MERS now COVID-19. The future is uncertain, the fact that the way we live, work and social is going to change forever, is not.

Click here for the link to the full article.