Press Release

Space tech captures toxic micro-organisms

By SpaceRef Editor
July 25, 2004
Filed under , ,

Sophisticated technology developed to ensure clean air for astronauts onboard
space stations is now used in hospitals to capture and destroy airborne fungi,
bacteria, spores and viruses. It can also eliminate microorganisms causing SARS,
ebola, smallpox, and tuberculosis as well as anthrax.

Most of the airborne micro-organisms around us do not present grave hazards to
healthy people, however they can pose serious threats to those with reduced
immune resistance. The space technology ‘Plasmer(TM)’ now provides an innovative
solution to guarantee clean air in several European hospitals.

Plasmer(TM) is a multistage system using strong electric fields and cold-plasma
chambers to eliminate micro-organisms in the air. Using this space technology,
the AirInSpace company with support from ESA’s Technology Transfer and Promotion
Office (TTP) has developed a transportable and protective unit for use in
hospitals and emergency scenarios, providing an easy deployable clean room.

“With the special Plasmer technology we have managed to develop an innovative
solution to provide clean air by destroying more than 99.9% of micro-organisms,
responding to the special needs of immune-compromised patients in hospitals,”
says Laurent Fullana, General Manager of AirInSpace.

“Our system ‘Immunair(TM)’ uses five Plasmer(TM) reactors to provide a clean-air
‘tent’, free of infective germs around a patient’s bed. It is targeted primarily
for immuno-haematology, oncology, reanimation and transplant hospital
depar(TM)ents. We have produced a smaller version, ‘Cool Plasmair’, with no
‘tent’, for use across a wide range of hospital areas where cross infection is a

Since early 2001 the system has been under test for a 12-month period in five
hospitals. Dr Svetlana Challier, of the Necker Hospital in Paris, says,
“Immunair(TM) makes it possible to reduce significantly the bacteria level in
the air.”

Another user of the system, Professor François Demeocq, CHU/Hôtel-Dieu in
Clermont-Ferrand, reports, “The biological protection with the Immunair(TM)
system is very satisfactory and responds well to the needs required for children
with strongly reduced immune defence following chemotherapy treatments. It could
also be used to provide the protection after transplants.”

Demeocq adds, “For the children and their parents, this device is more
convenient in everyday life and allows the emotional contact which is essential
for these children who are isolated for a very long time.”

The Plasmer(TM) technology for the biological decontamination of air onboard
manned spacecraft was invented in the early 90s by a group of Russian
scientists. In 1997 the Russian space station MIR was equipped with Plasmer(TM)
reactors successfully protecting cosmonauts and electronic equipment from
bacteria, viruses and fungal contamination.

In April 2001, Plasmer(TM) reactors were installed to clean the air from
micro-organisms in the Russian segments on the International Space Station. Now
the Plasmer(TM) space technology has moved down to Earth to protect
immune-compromised patients in hospitals.

More information

* Plasmer space technology — a weapon against bio-pathogens

Related links

* AirInSpace

* ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme

* Space technology in medicine (1)

* Space technology in medicine (2)

* Medical Care from Space: Telemedicine


[Image 1: ]
The space technology PlasmerTM was originally developed to clean the air onboard
space stations. It is now used in hospitals to eliminate air-borne
micro-organisms presenting danger to patients with reduced immune resistance.

Credits: AirInSpace

[Image 2: ]
The PlasmerTM technology used by AirInSpace’s ImmunairTM is cleaning the air of
micro-organisms in the intensive care unit of the Calmette hospital in Lille, France

Credits: AirInSpace

[Image 3: ]
AirInSpace’s system ImmunairTM uses five PlasmerTM reactors to provide a
clean-air ‘tent’, free of infective germs around a patient’s bed. It is targeted
primarily for immuno-haematology, oncology, reanimation and transplant hospital

Credits: AirInSpace

[Image 4: ]
The biological protection with the ImmunairTM system eliminates more than 99.99%
of airborne micro-organisms using PlasmerTM technology which was developed to
clean air onboard space stations. It is now used in several hospital units for
immune-compromised patients.

Credits: AirInSpace

[Image 5: ]
Russia’s Mir complex as Shuttle Atlantis approaches for docking on 15 January
1997 (Image: NASA)

Credits: NASA

[Image 6: ]
Cosmonaut Nikolai M. Budarin, Expedition Six flight engineer, is pictured near
the Potok 150MK air decontamination equipment in the Zvezda Service Module on
the International Space Station (ISS). Budarin represents Rosaviakosmos. The
Potok 150MK uses the PlasmerTM technology to eliminate air-borne micro-organisms.

Credits: NASA

SpaceRef staff editor.