By GREGORY ZELLER //
A common antiseptic applied to scrapes and burns swirls inside a new, food-safe disinfecting spray that, according to one Long Island startup, is virtually 100 percent effective against COVID-19.
Meet AVAST (“for antiviral aerosolized sterilization technology”), the first anti-viral product by the fresh-out-of-the-oven Wela Group, a Huntington-based, R&D-focused enterprise applying new science and technologies to innovative sterilization systems.
Developed directly “in response to the coronavirus pandemic,” AVAST combines hydrogen peroxide and ozone in a dry mist that is “more than 99.98 percent effective” against COVID-19, the company said in a statement.
Those numbers come from independent third-party laboratory verification – Wela Group cited studies performed at Assured Bio Labs, an accredited laboratory for testing mold, bacteria and coliforms operating a stone’s throw from Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
According to the tests, the dry mist eliminates viruses on virtually all surfaces it contacts, including coronaviruses and recurring villains like H1N1, SARS and E. coli. It’s completely food-safe – hydrogen peroxide is a common mouthwash and ozone, while harmful to the lungs in concentrated doses, is a common air cleaner – and dissipates in about 20 minutes, leaving no active chemical traces.
With COVID-19 wreaking havoc around the globe, the goal was to quickly merge established formulas and delivery systems into a ready antiviral weapon, according to Wela Group cofounder Barbara Dutton-Weingarten, who launched the LLC in May 2020 alongside serial entrepreneur Eric Holohan.
The partners are no stranger to innovative startups: Holohan and Dutton-Weingarten have given a global reach to 2018 startup Green Framework, a Huntington-based distributor of new technologies promoting maritime-industry efficiencies.
With AVAST, the Wela Group will target decidedly landlocked industries including education, hospitality, restaurants and virtually every kind of waiting room in existence.
Dutton-Weingarten said AVAST – which has already been trademarked and built into a set-and-forget disinfecting system with a retail price of $3,000 – came together so quickly in response to the dire needs created by the COVID pandemic.
“The idea was to find the most effective combination of proven methods and produce a complete knockout product that destroys the virus, but leaves no toxic substances or residue, thereby eliminating any additional risk of illness due to reactions from chemical cleaners,” the co-founder said. “The solution was to combine hydrogen peroxide, a non-toxic oxidizer, with ozone.”