OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The fight against the COVID-19 virus has a new tool from Lenexa, Kansas.
This summer, Synexis received confirmation through a peer-reviewed study that its disinfectant product is effective in killing the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Synexis, in operation since 2008, is the sole developer of a product called “dry hydrogen peroxide.” In its most basic sense, dry hydrogen peroxide is a gas version of the chemical in brown bottles many people have in their medicine cabinets and use as an antiseptic.
Synexis developed the invisible, odorless, tasteless gas to kill bacteria, viruses, mold and small pests as a way to improve air quality in enclosed spaces.
In July, a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control showed dry hydrogen peroxide reduced SARS-COV-2, the virus behind COVID-19, on surfaces by 98.7 percent after two hours of continuous treatment.
A previous study showed the gas killed a similar, but harder to kill, virus in the air.
“The combination of these two studies shows high evidence in air and on surfaces, we impact SARS-COV-2,” explained Eric Schlote, the Synexis CEO.
Synexis sells devices that can be installed in HVAC systems, hung to a wall or simply placed in a room. The devices take oxygen and humidity from the air and then convert them into dry hydrogen peroxide, which it then pumps into the enclosed space.
“As dry hydrogen peroxide goes through a space and attaches to a microbe, it will deactivate the microbe and then the hydrogen peroxide molecule will turn right back into humidity,” Schlote said.
It is safe for humans to be around, and breathe in, dry hydrogen peroxide in the quantities Synexis’ machines emit. The Lenexa company follows regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Schlote said what separates his product from other disinfectants - like UVC germicidal light or specialized air filters - is dry hydrogen peroxide can be continuously pumped into a room, allowing it to float to all corners of a space, actively seeking microbes to kill. Whereas, UVC and filters rely on airflow to bring viruses to them to kill or trap.
“If someone is shedding a virus or if there is a microbe in the air, we are immediately mitigating that risk without the need for an air exchange,” Schlote explained.
Dr. Nick Hysmith, the director of infection prevention at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, is familiar with dry hydrogen peroxide. He said the advantage of the gas is it attacks viruses normal cleaning routines may have left behind.
“I think that there are always going to be microbes on the surfaces of things that are missed, and I think having something sort of in the background that’s working for you is is is a good thing,” Hysmith said, adding he’s looking into installing dry hydrogen peroxide devices in the waiting rooms of his hospital.
Hysmith admitted there is such a thing as good bacteria and bacteria which help humans build their immune system through exposure. Dry hydrogen peroxide does not differentiate between all that. But Hysmith pointed out the gas will not kill bacterias within a human’s system.
The owner of Tavern in the Village, a restaurant in Prairie Village, Kansas, installed the Synexis machines about two years ago to simply improve the experience for his customers. To find out that the product is highly effective against SARS-CoV-2 is an added benefit.
“I guess there is blind luck in there somewhere, but we were trying to take care of our guests and our employees at the same time. Yes, there was an added benefit at a very trying environment when COVID came out,” said Kelly Manning of Tavern.
He is now considering adding the machines to his second restaurant in the Mission Farms development of Leawood, Kansas. Minsky’s Pizza, a local chain, has also released a commercial highlighting its use of Synexis products.
The price of the dry hydrogen peroxide services varies depending on size and need, with Synexis taking a data-driven approach to each situation. Schlote said the devices are currently geared for commercial, not residential use.
This year, Synexis should complete construction on a new 9,500 square feet research and development facility in Lenexa to help it expand and further evaluate its product.