Preventing COVID-19 with Photodisinfection – New Results Presented at European Society of Photobiology

Results presented at 2021 European Society of Photobiology conference demonstrate Ondine’s broad-spectrum nasal photodisinfection technology eliminates COVID at both genomic and spike protein levels.

Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA

Vancouver, Canada, Sept. 18, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

  • Nasal decolonization is recommended by the WHO and CDC to reduce hospital acquired infections (HAIs), [1] which have been exacerbated by COVID. [2]
  • HAIs in U.S. hospitals cause up to $45 billion of direct extra medical costs annually. [3]

Ondine Biomedical, which specializes in photodisinfection-based medical devices, presented in vitro and in vivo results which demonstrated elimination of the SARS-CoV-2 genome after less than a few minutes of photodisinfection treatment at the recent European Society of Photobiology conference in Austria.

Ondine’s photodisinfection technology was also shown to destroy spike protein and receptor binding domains from various major viral variants including the highly infectious Delta variant from India.  These findings underscored in vivo outcomes provided by industrial users, where COVID-19 infection rates in treated workers were shown to significantly decline compared to untreated workers.

Dr. Nicolas Loebel, President and Chief Technology Officer, told the meeting, “The nose is a major reservoir of SARS-CoV-2. As the majority of COVID-19 transmissions are from asymptomatic carriers, Ondine’s approach to this highly infectious virus is to focus on reducing transmission by decolonizing the noses of patients of all pathogens.  This application is a natural extension of Ondine’s Steriwave™ nasal photodisinfection technology which has been deployed over the past ten years in Canadian hospitals and clinics to reduce healthcare associated infections.

“When a colonized person coughs or sneezes, pathogens can be aerosolized in the upper airway and transmitted to other patients, coworkers, and healthcare professionals.  This could occur whether or not the patient is vaccinated or has COVID-19 symptoms.  We believe that a powerful, rapid decolonization method like Steriwave could become a key component of viral transmission control alongside masks, vaccines and antibody therapies.

“The majority of current pathogen-directed therapies fail at some point through development of resistance,” continued Loebel.  “Given the continued emergence of virulent SARS-CoV-2 mutations which can span the globe in a matter of months, we intend to advance our photodisinfection-based protocols and clinical efforts as fast as possible to provide patients as well as healthcare professionals with a new tool in the battle against these and other types of emerging respiratory pathogens.”

The nose has been identified as an ideal breeding ground and reservoir for many pathogens including MRSA, Candida auris and SARS-Cov-2. Steriwave has been shown to rapidly and painlessly eradicate bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the nose. The patented platform technology involves a two-step process:  the application of a liquid photosensitizer to each nostril, followed by illumination with non-thermal laser light for less than five minutes. This combination destroys the pathogens via oxidative stress. Key benefits of this painless nasal decolonization approach include instant, broad-spectrum action; simple integration into hospital and clinic workflows; high compliance rates; and lack of resistance generation by the targeted pathogens.

Steriwave has received the CE mark and is approved in Canada and in a number of other countries for intranasal pathogen decolonization. In the United States, Steriwave is currently going through clinical trials for regulatory approval. Steriwave has been used in Canadian hospitals over the past decade for nasal decolonization to reduce the incidence of hospital-acquired infections.

About Photodisinfection

Steriwave photodisinfection therapy retains effectiveness despite re-use; is simple and painless to administer, takes only minutes to eliminate bacteria, virus and fungi; requires no compliance or complicated multi-step treatment regimens; and can be applied by any medical professional. This is of particular importance during the current pandemic, as research has demonstrated that pathogen cofactors worsen COVID-19 outcomes by altering natural skin immunity and host defenses. [4]

Ondine’s Steriwave photodisinfection technology provides an alternative in the fight against drug-resistant infections. Also known as antimicrobial photodynamic disinfection therapy (aPDT), this light-activated antimicrobial kills a broad spectrum of drug-resistant bacteria, viruses, and fungi, including those in biofilms, while substantially reducing local inflammation. The CE-marked Steriwave technology involves applying a photosensitive agent to each nostril, followed by illumination of the area via non-thermal laser light for less than five minutes. This causes an oxidative burst which destroys the pathogens. When the light is turned off, the reaction ceases. 

About Ondine Biomedical Inc.

Ondine Biomedical Inc. is a Canadian headquartered, medical device company led by Founder and CEO, Carolyn Cross. Ondine has developed a patented, painless, photodisinfection technology platform used in treatment and prevention therapies for a broad-spectrum of pathogens - bacterial, viral and fungal - including multidrug-resistant strains. In addition to Steriwave for nasal disinfection, other applications of the photodisinfection platform are under development, including treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis, decolonization of burns and wounds, disinfection of endotracheal tubes to reduce the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia and most recently, the development of topical antiviral therapy for the upper respiratory tract to reduce SARS-CoV-2 titre and transmission.

  [1] Surgical Site Infection Prevention:  Key facts on decolonization of nasal carriers of Staphyloccus aureus (WHO).
       Global Guidelines for the Prevention of Surgical Site Infection (WHO 2018).
       New WHO recommendations on preoperative measures for surgical site infection prevention.
       Strategies to Prevent Hospital-onset Staphylococcus aureus Bloodstream Infections in Acute Care Facilities (CDC).

  [2] COVID-19 Impact on HAIs in 2020

  [3] Economic burden of healthcare-associated infections: an American perspective

  [4] Evaluation of bacterial co-infections of the respiratory tract in COVID-19 patients admitted to ICU