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Covid update: 21 January 2021

21 Jan 2021

A round up of this week's coronavirus-related news and countermeasures from the photonics industry.

Asahi Kasei and Crystal IS have announced the second round of their UV Accelerator funding initiative for supporting the development of new disinfection products that use UV-C LEDs. Crystal IS manufactures aluminum nitride UVC LEDs, and through its Klaran product line offers UVC LEDs and modules to disinfect pathogens on surfaces and in water and air.

Following the successful funding of two companies in the first round, this endeavor again is intended to partner with innovative companies that have exciting ideas for “new applications of UVC LEDs in a post-Covid world” by providing investments of up to $250,000 per company. The partnership is accepting applicants for new product development ideas regarding the utilization of UVC LEDs until March 31, 2021. Up to $250,000 funding is available for selected companies, from Asahi Kasei America.

Led by Dr. Steven Berger, Managing Director at AKA, and former CEO of Crystal IS, the UV Accelerator has been established as a proactive measure for developing solutions that can be used “to stop the spread of deadly viruses and bacteria and help in the ongoing fight against Covid-19,” the company stated on January 12th. AKA will provide the funding to successful applicants; Crystal IS will provide engineering expertise for the design and control of the UVC LED light source.

The partners stated, “In this second round, the Accelerator is again looking for creative product ideas but particularly encourages ideas on how UVC-based hardware and software can be safely used to help people, be they employees or customers, become comfortable with returning to offices or commercial buildings.”

Schott hits record glass vial output for Covid-19 vaccine

Optics and glass giant Schott is producing what it calls “record-breaking numbers” of pharmaceutical containers, including glass vials, as the U.S. prepares for Covid-19 vaccine distribution.

Its high-tech facility in Lebanon, Pa., makes glass vials, which are used in 75 percent of all approved Covid-19 vaccines projects, such as those funded by the U.S. Operation Warp Speed program.

“The 285 employees at Lebanon are working around the clock,” said Christopher Cassidy, Vice President at Schott North America. “Schott makes the most reliable glass pharmaceutical packaging in the world, and every Schott employee is giving 100 percent to make sure that safe, reliable drug containers are available.”

The Lebanon, PA plant converts high quality borosilicate glass tubing from Schott global manufacturing sites into drug containers, including vials. Schott says its glass formulation, used in billions of vials each year, keeps even highly sensitive drugs stable. Pre-washed and sterilized vials, known as adaptiQ, are helping speed up the drug development process for Covid-19 R&D work and clinical trials, Cassidy added.

UK-based Oxford Lasers has announced additional capability for supporting customers relying on Container Closure Integrity Testing and leak testing in glass vials – such as needed in Covid vaccine distribution.

The company’s statement this week notes, “Much has been written recently about the potential shortages of glass vials for the bottling of Coronavirus vaccines. We are pleased to announce further metrology capabilities enabling efficient testing of such vials.

“Manufacturers must certify that their products meet government requirements for drug safety and sterility, and a well-designed CCIT/Leak Testing process can help provide that safety and certification. The use of reliable positive controls is a critical part of helping customers meet the requirements of USP 1207 and other standards.

“As with many mass-produced products, glass vials can vary considerably in thickness. We have developed a novel method to both measure and drill a wide range of thicknesses of these vials. We have added the ability to accurately measure the glass vial thickness up to 5 mm with micron accuracy.”

Zeiss Vision Care US has announced that its UVClean technology, an optometry-specific UV-C disinfecting device for eye care professionals, was last week chosen as a CES 2021 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Health & Wellness category.

The announcement was made at the digital CES 2021, between January 11-14, 2021. The CES Innovation Awards program, produced by the Consumer Technology Association, is an annual competition recognizing outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products.

Jens Boy, president of Zeiss Vision Care North America, commented, “Frame and lens disinfecting became an overnight challenge for eye care dispensaries, and the Zeiss UVClean met that challenge with an efficient, affordable, and space-saving device.”

Zeiss UVClean deploys four germicidal UV-C bulbs to completely bathe each pair of eyeglasses in powerful UV light. The unit can disinfect 6-10 frames in 40 seconds and kills up to 99.5 percent of common viruses and bacteria on the surfaces of eyeglasses. The product was designed to enable eye care practices to spend less time and resources cleaning and more time engaging with their patients.

Other CES 2021 Innovation Awards Honorees, including product descriptions and photos, can be found on the CES 2021 website.

AlluxaMad City Labs, Inc.Iridian Spectral TechnologiesUniverse Kogaku America Inc.Berkeley Nucleonics CorporationHÜBNER PhotonicsSPECTROGON AB
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