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Avian flu: this Nantes solution promises to destroy the virus in the air – Economy

How can the highly pathogenic H5N1 and H7N1 viruses, responsible for bird flu, be prevented from entering buildings and decimating livestock? Going through the footbath and disinfecting the equipment is not enough. “Since the virus is airborne, you have to target the air that enters buildings,” convinces Ludovic Gérard-Gaucher, boss of Systel International.

The Loire company, leader in France in the design and manufacture of heating, energy saving and lighting systems for livestock buildings, has developed an innovative air handling unit which, during tests carried out by the Lyon laboratory VirexPr, demonstrated its “98.8%” effectiveness against the H7N1 virus, “injected, for the purposes of the experiment, at a density a thousand times greater than that encountered in the ambient air”, specifies the manager.

“Filtration alone does not kill the virus, at best it stops it. Our plant, in addition to filtering 100% of the air, treats it and deactivates the virus. »

Filtration and decontamination

The equipment, baptized CID’R, incorporates the patented technology of Calistair, a company co-founded by Alain Hachet, Breton from Larmor-Plage (56). An athermal catalysis process which, by destructuring molecules and pollutants, destroys viruses as well as bacteria, fungi and volatile organic compounds. Its action against sarin and soman gas simulants (nerve agents) was particularly highlighted last year.

Fans, several filters and a hot water battery complete the system. The air entering buildings under overpressure is both heated and decontaminated. “This device is, in my opinion, the best solution on the market”, defends Ludovic Gérard-Gaucher. This, thanks to the decontaminating powers of athermal catalysis. “Because filtration alone does not kill the virus, at best it stops it. Our plant, in addition to filtering 100% of the air, treats it and deactivates the virus. »

Duplicable against swine flu

The device is sold at the public price of 45,000 euros per unit. Calibrated to treat 18,000 m3 of air per hour, there are no plans – except to install ten plants per building – to equip broiler poultry farms, which “require much greater air renewal”.

Animal selection and breeding specialists, on the other hand, are very interested. Wishing to secure its strains, the result of long genetic research, the Nantes group Orvia, leader in the selection of waterfowl and the hatching of ducklings, has just installed two SID’R plants on a first building. It plans, “in addition to the biosecurity protocols already in place”, to integrate the system at three other of its strategic sites by the end of 2023.

For the time being, Systel aims to equip a hundred poultry buildings, in France and abroad. Before, probably, expanding its prospection to breeding piggeries. Because, anticipates Ludovic Gérard-Gautier, “it is almost certain that we will end up with the same level of effectiveness, in the laboratory, on the H1N1 and H3N2 viruses, responsible for swine flu, as on avian H7N1”. Promising opportunities.

letelegramme Fr Trans

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