Targeted reduction of SARS-COV-2 viral load in the nose with photodisinfection may reduce severity of lower tract respiratory disease

Research on the efficacy of nasal photodisinfection therapy for treating asymptomatic and early stage COVID-19 patients has found that it may reduce the severity of lower tract respiratory disease. The research was presented by Dr Jack Kolenda, Otolaryngologist, Head & Neck Surgeon at St. Joseph’s Health Center in Toronto, Canada at the IDWeek1 2021 conference.

The study evaluated the effect of nasal photodisinfection on reducing patients’ SARS-CoV-2 viral load. In the patient cohort of 13 female and 27 male patients with an age range of 9 to 56 years old, significant viral load reduction following photodisinfection treatment was confirmed by rapid antigen testing. 100% of patients who tested positive at the outset of the study were confirmed negative by rapid antigen test following photodisinfection treatment. In addition, fever resolution was achieved in 24 hours for 60% of patients, and 100% of patients in 48 hours. No patients in the study were admitted to hospital or visited ER during the follow up period.

“In light of the prevalence of new strains of the coronavirus and the risk to healthcare workers of the high numbers of unvaccinated people, we are excited to be able to share these initial results”, said Dr. Kolenda, “As the nose is the primary reservoir for SARS-CoV-2 incubation and transmission, we wanted to evaluate the potential for nasal photodisinfection to reduce viral load in the nose in early stage COVID-19 and asymptomatic carriers. We focused on this patient population as they currently have very few effective, safe, and economical treatments available, and photodisinfection technology shows great promise in this area.”

The nasal decolonization study was conducted using the Steriwave™ nasal photodisinfection therapy, developed by Canadian MedTech Ondine Biomedical. A high viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in the nose and upper airway is associated with more severe symptoms, and higher mortality rates. Additionally, bacterial co-factors are implicated with severe cases leading to hospitalization.

Nasal photodisinfection has been used in Canadian hospitals for the past ten years in the prevention of hospital acquired infections, where it has been shown to be safe and effective against a broad range of drug-resistant pathogens. A key benefit of this approach is that pathogens cannot develop a resistance to the treatment.


About Photodisinfection   

Photodisinfection technology provides a powerful new alternative in the fight against drug-resistant infections. This patented, light-activated antimicrobial kills a broad spectrum of drug-resistant bacteria, viruses, and fungi, including those in biofilms, in minutes and reduces inflammation. Photodisinfection, or antimicrobial Photodynamic Disinfection Therapy (aPDT), was invented by UCL Professor Michael Wilson in the late 1980’s for oral infections.

Photodisinfection kills pathogens through oxidative disruption with minimal impact on human tissue-epithelial, or mucosa. Pathogens are unable to resist or adapt to this treatment because it rapidly destroys their rRNA genome. This pain-free, minimally invasive and easy-to-use therapy results in high patient compliance.

Explanatory video (International Photodynamic Association):

1IDWeek is the joint annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the HIV Medical Association (HIVMA), the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS), and the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists (SIDP).

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