Technology has been a vital tool in the fight against coronavirus. And as our understanding of the applications of specific technologies has expanded, so too has their effectiveness and the range of potential use cases. The virucidal agent Bioguard is one such innovation showing strong versatility against many different pathogens.
With all the emphasis from leaders on digital technologies and therapeutics, and justifiably so — it is easy to forget the importance of preventative strategies and technologies that society can employ to pre-empt the next pandemic.
Bioguard was originally designed by the fiduciary industry to mitigate against the contamination risk of banknotes. A virucidal, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal solution, Bioguard was first deployed against earlier disease outbreaks.
But when the coronavirus pandemic occurred, Bioguard was brought into the fray and demonstrated outstanding efficacy.
“We optimised a formula that we had studied during the H1N1 flu crisis…Covid-19 allowed us to improve it,” explains Henri Rosset, who is the director of VHP Security Paper, the research center originally responsible for the solution that is now commercially available from Bioguard & Co.
The solution uses a silver-based component that enables significant anti-bacterial action. In independent laboratory testing, viral concentration was consistently reduced by at least 100 times on Bioguard treated surfaces, compared to untreated surfaces.
Both in France and the United States, Bioguard is ISO 10993-10 certified by biotechnology evaluator Biomatech, which is a member of the North American Science Associates research organization (NAMSA).
The solution has proven surprisingly versatile.
“We have developed coatings and varnishes that can be used on wood, glass, etc. In the end, all types of materials,” Rosset says, adding that there simply needs to be an adjustment to the dosages according to the surface that is being treated.
“It is important to mention that our product is completely safe for humans,” Rosset notes. “There is no risk at all to the skin — the product is neutral.”
Bioguard can be applied as a varnish to protect anything from high-touch surfaces in crowded spaces, like airports and restaurants, to the panels and components of consumer products.
“Active ingredients provide a complete protection that will prevent the spread of microbial contamination,” the director says — the kind of protection that could even offer added safety in medical settings.
“That’s something we are currently considering. In any case, Bioguard’s technology is an existing response to tomorrow’s pandemics,” Rosset adds.
Given the setbacks the world has been facing recently, many people are justifiably concerned about how responsible, and crucially sustainable, the products they use are. Something that makes Bioguard unique is its exceptional safety profile and minimal environmental impact. Bioguard does not alter the ability of paper to be recycled. With environmental responsibility fixed in the mind of many people, this is likely to be met with approval.
Fortunately for conscientious consumers, it is also simple to identify which materials and products are protected sustainably with Bioguard. With the QR code and the molecular tracer, the public has certainty about the provenance of Bioguard-protected products. This is an important psychological benefit, as the battle against invisible enemies can be as much one of trust and confidence as of technological tools.
The fiduciary industry has noted for some time that banknotes were not a real risk vector for viral transmission. Nor other surfaces, for that matter. But where there are concerns or a loss of trust, it is important that responsible companies work together with authorities to rebuild confidence.
“In times of crisis, it is impossible not to generate doubts, even sometimes hostility, but this issue does not concern Bioguard for several reasons,” explains Nicolas Koutros, Deputy Managing Director of Bioguard & Co.
“First of all, our solution has been used daily for more than fifteen years without there ever being the slightest problem,” Koutros says. In addition, the various tests carried out by certified and independent laboratories in France, Germany and the United States all confirm the effectiveness of the technology.
Its properties have allowed the company to offer Bioguard for many other applications in different industries. The solution has become complementary to other protective technologies, such as vaccinations and face coverings, and will therefore be able to contribute to the restoration of economic activity, the opening of trade, and the maintenance of public safety.