Microbes watch out, Bio-5 is about

The first step in a totally new approach to microbial control in the Cayman Islands and other Caribbean islands is being launched here.

Testing for microbes

Mikes Ice Technician James Harvey, right, tests microbial levels on the hand of Sales and Marketing Manager Sarah Harvey while CEO John Harvey, left, and General Manager Nick Amelio look on. Photo: Cliodhna McGowan

Bio-5 is a new and exciting product for which Mike’s Ice and Refrigeration Co. has sole distributorship for Cayman and five other Caribbean countries.

The Bio-5 range, manufactured in the UK by Solutions Environmental Systems Ltd., can stop the rapid spread of nasty viruses and bacteria borne illnesses in local offices, visiting cruise ships, hotels, hospitals, schools and even from your own hands.

The product has acquired a Material Safety Data Sheet safety record, but has been further tested by Mike’s Ice for the Caribbean market.

Currently in the UK the product is being used where large numbers of people gather, such as bus lines and airports.

CEO of Mike’s Ice John Harvey explained that microbial control is achieved from this product by reducing the reproduction levels and viable number of microbes down to a safe level.

‘Bio-5 disrupts the microbes from establishing colonies and then ensures that the remaining organisms are rendered harmless or killed.’

Results

Following very positive results that have been conducted in-house at Mike’s Ice, the air conditioning service using Bio-5 is ready for public release, Mr. Harvey confirmed.

And ready for release in a month or so will be the Bio-5 hand sanitizers.

The tests were done on air conditioning systems, office furniture, residential and retail spaces, bathroom surfaces and working environments, kitchen surfaces and the human hand.

Results of the tests show that in every case the Bio-5 products outperformed the other disinfectant products tested, which are leading brands, said Mr. Harvey.

‘The most dramatic summary is that we took all the tests and brought them together and the Bio-5 product passed the criteria 99 per cent on all tests for microbial control.’

A leading disinfectant product came in at 42 per cent.

‘The problem was that this other disinfectant product killed the germs but this did not last long, while Bio-5 kept on killing,’ Mr. Harvey explained.

The in-house test was over duration and it was found that surfaces cleaned with Bio-5 were not only cleaner but stayed clean for a couple of weeks after the application, while the other surfaces did not remain clean.

Mr. Harvey added, ‘We also found in 10 per cent of the tests that although the well known brand cleaner reduced the population of microbes immediately, the microbes that were left and not controlled expanded to a greater population two days after the test than what they were previously.

‘Not conclusively, but it is in mind with research being done in UK hospitals, that sanitizers are not killing all microbes, such as MRSA, and they (some microbes) appear not only to be immune from sanitizing chemicals, but actually feed off of the sanitizing chemical.’

Air conditioning

The air conditioning service is on offer. The Bio-5 can be installed on the coil, duct or grill in an air-conditioning system, thereby ensuring the air breathed is sterile, safe and uncontaminated, said Mr. Harvey.

Sales and Marketing Manager for Mike’s Ice, Sarah Harvey, explained, ‘It’s a preventive treatment we’re doing. You may not know the bacterial or mould count without having any smells or reaction from your staff. However that doesn’t mean that it’s not there.

‘When someone in the office has a weakened immune system, that’s when you’re prone to it. One of the main benefits of this (Bio-5) is in large office buildings to control the microbial levels. Even when an individual’s immune system is lowered their chances of picking up any germs or viruses is lowered also, hence increasing productivity in the office.’

Mr. Harvey noted that one of the reasons for doing the in-house tests was because they wanted to ensure that in this climate, which is different to the UK climate, the product would still be as effective, because air conditioning system design for buildings in the Caribbean is entirely different from air conditioning in Europe.

Hand sanitizer

While conducting this interview, the Bio-5 hand sanitizer was tested on the hands of Ms Harvey against a leading hand sanitizer.

Ms Harvey explained that before any initial reading was done she had gone out of her way to find unclean surfaces to increase the microbial levels on her hands for the purposes of the test. Consequently, the initial reading proved her hands to be in an extremely unsafe level.

Bio-5 was then applied to one hand and a leading brand name hand sanitizer to the other. Over an hour later Mike’s Ice technician James Harvey tested the microbial levels on both hands.

He swabbed each hand and put the swabs back into the microbial level reading instrument, one at a time.

Results showed that the Bio-5 had a 90 per cent reduction rate in microbial levels in just over the hour. However, the levels on the other hand had actually multiplied back to the unsafe zone and beyond the original microbial levels.

Polymer

Mr. Harvey explained: ‘The other hand sanitizer, tested alongside Bio-5, uses alcohol, which is a very effective microbial control, but the problem is that the alcohol removes not only the germs but the protective layer above the skin, leaving the skin even more susceptible to attack than it was before the sanitizer was used.’

General Manager Nick Amelio added, ‘It (the Bio-5) has a polymer on it, which ends up coating and staying on a little while and protecting you. The alcohol in the other product dries up and evaporates and is gone and the remaining bacteria just multiplied, while Bio-5’s polymer continues to stop any growth.’

This journalist, having watched Ms Harvey undergo her test, also was tested on one hand. The microbial levels were in the low levels of the unsafe zone, but after Bio-5 was applied and another reading done 10 minutes later, the levels had reduced by about a third.

Mr. Harvey explained, ‘One thing to understand why the hand sanitizer is important is that over 95 per cent contamination comes from hand contact to your eyes. That’s the most direct route into the body. It’s not through breathing or swallowing. It’s from eye contact.’

Mr. Harvey noted that the Bio-5 hand sanitizer can be useful when greeting guests off a cruise ship.

‘The cruise ships could be carrying people who are contaminated with diseases and we’re shaking their hands and we just don’t know until three days later what extra visitors we’ve received.’

The group also spoke about an incident that happened during the testing process. They explained that before a meeting, scheduled to take place in a musty office in Cayman, one of the attendees had a huge allergy attack in that very room, and had to leave it. The room was then sprayed with Bio-5 and two hours later 12 people attended that room, including the person with the allergies, and there was no problem. The room was still in use and had not been re-treated two weeks later.

Ms Harvey added that the product is completely safe: hypoallergenic, non-toxic, safe to use around children and pets.

Bio-5 treatment for any home, office, or public building will be done quietly and in confidence, the group asserts.

E-mail [email protected] for further information

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