Public Transportation To Play a Significant Role in the Coming Pandemic 

Written by Far-UV Sterilray™

July 27, 2019

Public Transportation Requires Far-UV Sterilray™ Technology

S. Edward Neister, Chief Technical Officer
High Energy Ozone LLC
May 15, 2018

World map shows flight routes from the 40 largest U.S. airports.

Image: Christos Nicolaides, Juanes Research Group

A century ago, world travel was limited and diseases were locally-based. Today, via fast-travel methods, diseases are capable of potentially developing many genome variations through high-mixing contact. Instead of humans being exposed to a few diseases with similar protein receptors, we are exposed to exponentially increasing genome variations having different binding proteins so immunity or any history of immunity is poor at best. The rate of mutations increases dramatically as more animal species around the world are exposed to new pathogens and diseases.  They have become the high-mixing sources that permit genetic transcription that becomes pathogenic to humans1. In 1918, the Spanish Flu killed 50 million persons globally1 in 3 waves as soldiers spread the disease by returning home. The 2009 influenza A/H1N1 pandemic and the 2012 MERS outbreak showed the impact of worldwide airline networks in spreading new and highly infectious diseases.  Our world has now moved past the linear increase of mutations and is has entered the exponential phase of growth.  This means we don’t have much time before a significant pandemic hits our world. We must act, and we must act soon.

The CDC releases information monthly on new disease discoveries. There are generally two to three each month. The worst was a few months ago regarding a viral infection that killed 80% of humans that were exposed. The current Ebola crisis in Africa has killed 700 people around a city of over 1 million. The latest antibiotic microbe, Candida aureus, has killed 50% of those infected in healthcare facilities in the US and is termed as a potential pandemic.

Last year, a number of technical articles reported that many bacterial and viral pathogens are emitted in aerosols in every exhale2. They can range from a few to over 1000 per breath. Articles published as early as  the 1960’s suggested reasons for influenza and infectious diseases spikes during the Fall and Winter months. In 2006-7, two articles reviewed aerosol transmission of influenza A virus3,4. This January 15, a new article5 proved that when the relative humidity (RH) drops below 25%, aerosols that humans exhale with each breath can remain airborne for over 3-6 hours.

When the RH is above 65% (Spring and Summer season), these aerosols will last less than 15 minutes in the air, significantly reducing infection availability.  This same article found through testing that the common influenza only took 3 viral particles (in a 1-micron aerosol bubble) reaching the lower part of a human lung to cause an infection. The disease was most serious if it reached the lower respiratory tract instead of impacting the intranasal area.  Most important, however, is the mention in the earlier review3 of the protein binding site (alpha 2,3) for the current H5N1 avian influenza virus. Humans have many more alpha 2,6-linked sialic acid receptor sites, making them a poor host for this virus.  But it requires just a change of 1 or 2 amino acid substitutions to become the H1N1 pandemic strain of 2018 virus, and for it to bind preferentially to an alpha 2,6 site.  When that happens, there will be little human immunity to the new virus.  This could become the start of the major pandemic we all fear, beginning during the late Fall and lasting through early Spring in just a few short years.

To implement the 2P’s of Prevention {Prepare, Prevent Potential Pandemics}, we must look at the Achilles heel of our society and how diseases spread so rapidly.  Global Public Transportation6 (PT) in 2017 carried 53 billion passengers, an increase of 9 billion in 5 years. In the U.S., APTA (American Public Transportation Association) says it was 38 million passengers per week or 10.1 billion in 2017.  At a 2% infection rate, Americans would get sick at a rate of almost 4 million per week, or over 32 million is just two months! Healthcare facilities would be overwhelmed. All forms of PT move people in tight quarters locally and around the world in times short enough for viral incubation without detection or symptoms. Airplanes all have low relative humidity during flight which means everyone on board is potentially inhaling aerosols from every passenger on the plane. Analysis of the commercial airliner that brought the SARS passenger to Canada in 2003 showed that people in 5 of the 7 separate plane air-flow sections became infected during the flight. To make matters worse, the United States Air Force, in a weapon of mass destruction study7, showed that HEPA filters do not effectively capture very tiny viral particles. The filters began to pass live viruses as soon as they were introduced into the incoming airstream.

A Google/Bing search will locate all of the articles referenced in this article that link infection of influenza and coronaviruses to public transportation. Several articles are noteworthy.  A systematic review of transportation types and their hubs was published in June 2015 in the Journal of Travel Medicine8. “In-flight influenza transmission was identified substantively on five flights with up to four confirmed and six suspected secondary cases per affected flight. Five studies highlighted the role of air travel in accelerating influenza spread to new areas. [They] did identify cases where influenza transmission has occurred on buses and is thought to have occurred on trains.”  The Medical University of Lublin, Poland did a study focused on airliners9 and stated that “Airborne diseases carry the greatest risk for the public health and are the most common in aviation, thus we will give them most attention in this study.”

During the late Fall, Winter, and early Spring months, buses, subways, and trains all experience low relative humidity. This results in all riders sharing exhalations with all the other passengers. Since infectivity of Type A virus as well as measles and TB is dependent on breathing in just a few viral particles, then most filters, paper masks, and handkerchiefs do little to protect people. A few sick people can exhale tens of thousands of viral particles in less than 30 minutes2. Madagascar now faces its largest measles outbreak in history, with cases soaring well beyond 115,000 with 1200 deaths so far. Only 50% are vaccinated when the vaccination rate must be over 95% to stop the epidemic in an infected community of over 250,000 people10.

I believe that the only tools we have that are destructive enough, fast enough, and easiest to commercialize are the Far-UV Sterilray™ (222nm) lamps. These have been demonstrated to have single-pass/destroy capability, achieving destruction of over 10,000 viral particles in 1/8 second as the air passes the lamp. The Far-UV Sterilray™ wavelength ruptures the sidewall of bacteria and segment spores as well.  One of these  lamps in a commercially-available room canister will prevent all the occupants from inhaling enough measles virus from an infected person because of its single-pass/kill capability11. Similarly, Far-UV Sterilray™  lamps in the ventilation system of all public transportation vehicles will provide the maximum degree of protection to all riders, and they are the only proactive means for reducing airborne bacteria and viruses as they are introduced into the air by human exhaling. An 222nm lamp on buses that completely changes the air every minute would keep the air clear of any pathogenic viruses and bacteria.

To date, public transportation companies have not shown the will or the need to install Far-UV Sterilray™  lamps, even to protect their own staff and crew. This is very similar to the seat belt issue the public faced  with automobile manufacturers years ago. None wanted to take the initiative because of cost and becoming initially uncompetitive. The U.S. government had to require seat belt additions before we the public could use their life-saving feature.  We must ask the U.S. government to begin the process of addressing the 2P’s by requiring public transportation companies to install this technology in their ventilation systems. It will take time to get this new Technology installed, but if we don’t start soon, we will all suffer greatly when (not if) the big pandemic hits.  Please watch Bill Gates’ video on YouTube12, and then let your Senators and Representatives know that you insist that they immediately pass legislation to implement Prepare, Prevent Potential Pandemics.

1:      Google/Bing and download the CDC article – ‘1918-pandemic-webinar

2:      Viable influenza A virus in airborne particles…; NIH, ‘’; 2016 W.G. Lindsley  Bacterial pathogens were detected…;Jour Aerosol Science; Vol 117, March 2018, pg 224-234:  Infectious virus in exhaled breath…;, Jan 30, 2018, vol 15, #5, 1081-1086: Molecular and Microscopic Analysis of Bacteria and Viruses in exhaled breath….;, July 2012, Vol 7, Issue 7, er1137

3:      Review of Aerosol Transmission of Influenza A virus; R. Tellier, Emerging Infectious Diseases, . Vol 12, #11, Nov. 2006

4:      Influenza Seasonality: Underlying Causes and Modeling Theories; E. Lofgren; Jour Firology, June 2007, p. 5429-5436.

5:      Mechanistic insights into the effect of humidity on airborne influenza virus, transmission and incidence; L. C. Marr et al.; J.R. Soc. Interface 16; 20180298; Jan. 2019.

6: the-global-mass-transit-revolution/570883; Sept 20, 2018

7:      Viral Penetration of High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters; 2007 Air Force Research Laboratory; AFRL-ML-TY-TP-2007-4512

8:      The roles of transportation and transportation hubs in the propagation of influenza and coronaviruses: a systematic review; A. Browne et. al; Journal of Travel Medicine, June 2015, 23(1)

9:      Air transport and the spread of infectious diseases; World Scientific News, 76(2017)p. 123-135

10:    see Critical Community Size, Epidemiology – Measles on Wikipedia

11:    Requires a complete room volumetric air exchange of at least 6 times per hour.


Z:      Google ‘Follow the (climate change) money’; Heritage Foundation (reference on Pandemic article)


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