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Zylast wins USAID 'Fighting Ebola Grand Challenge'
Zylast hand sanitising technology has been selected as one of only three initial winners of the USAID Fighting Ebola Grand Challenge, for which more than 1,500 applications were received.
The announcement, made from the White House, introduces Zylast as a solution to "help healthcare workers on the front lines provide better care and stop the spread of Ebola".
The eight-step process was supervised by USAID, with contributions from scientists and experts from key organisations such as the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organisation and US Department of Defense.
The persistence of Zylast is critical in fighting the spread of Ebola.
If a healthcare worker comes into contact with an infected person - even one who has not been diagnosed, Zylast provides defence against infection. According to the World Health Organisation, nearly 10% of the casualties of the outbreak have been healthcare workers treating Ebola patients.
Zylast also guards healthcare workers at the critical moments when they remove protective gear, which can be suffocatingly hot and close in West African climates. The riskiest time for healthcare workers is when the equipment comes off, as skin can come into contact with an infected surface. Zylast has been found to kill any Ebola virus that comes into contact with Zylast-treated skin and will persist up to six hours after application.
"We are grateful for this recognition of the life-saving value of our products," said Dr Colette Cozean, CEO of Innovative BioDefense, the product's manufacturer. "Together with our partners at Aquarius GEP, we have a special dedication to the health and welfare of Africa and Africans, and our most important goal is to end this epidemic and to spread health for the suffering people of West Africa."
Zylast kills at least 99.99% of 25 different, FDA-specified germs, and does not irritate skin - irritated or dried skin is more susceptible to infection. Zylast has been proven to kill Norovirus, HIV, Poliovirus, all Influenzae including H1N1, Herpes Simplex, Rhinovirus, Rotavirus and many others.
Following laboratory testing, USAID may authorise a pilot clinical study at several beta sites in high-risk areas of West Africa. This would confirm the ability of Zylast in conjunction with other protective equipment to reduce Ebola infection.
"Zylast has the potential to contain the spread of Ebola," says Dr. Beth McNicol, who holds her PhD in Emerging Infectious Disease. "It is highly effective on contact against bacteria and enveloped viruses, and it also offers persistent protection for six hours. Zylast provides protection directly on the skin and could significantly impact the fight against Ebola."
The current Ebola outbreak began in December of 2013, and has spread through the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. More than 18,000 cases have been reported, though the CDC and World Health Organisation suggest that the true number could be several times higher. The disease has proven fatal in more than 70% of cases. The Fighting Ebola Grand Challenge offers the opportunity to impact the spread of the disease with practical and innovative technologies.
18th December 2014