The E3 project creates globally competitive solutions to prevent the spread of new infectious diseases
The E3 project aims to harness science and technology to create effective countermeasures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. The goal is that already during the current pandemic and especially before the emergence of the next pandemic, technical solutions would be available that would reduce the spread of pathogens in places where people meet.
The goal of the research-oriented project, which started in July 2021, is to increase science-based knowledge about, for example, how diseases spread indoors, what is the relative importance of different forms of disease transmission, such as droplet, airborne and contact infections, and what are the most effective countermeasures to prevent the spread of diseases such as pandemics.
In particular, the project investigates the different spread routes of airborne pathogens and viruses, as well as virus monitoring and detection methods, which can be used to find solutions to keep indoor air clean and safe, for example in offices, public spaces and means of transport. The main goal is to develop solutions that allow the various functions of society to continue without interruption and people can continue to move and live safely despite epidemics and pandemics.
An incredible multidisciplinary team of a hundred researchers
In terms of its size, E3 is one of the largest projects between companies and research organizations ever launched in Finland. The E3 project has a budget of 12 million euros and a duration of two and a half years.
"As Business Finland's co-innovation project, E3 connects the entire clean air ecosystem of buildings to the same challenges and opportunities. At the meetings, actors from designers to the end users of the facilities share their ideas. Everything we do is based on a scientific approach - this is ensured by an incredible multidisciplinary team of one hundred researchers. The strength of the ecosystem project comes to the fore when, e.g. a doctor, a virologist, an aerosol and building ventilation researcher consider different perspectives together with our company representatives", says Minna Väkevä, Interim CTO from Lifa Air.
"At E3, Lifa Air develops clean air solutions based on risk analysis and the actual protection needs of the various operating environments examined. In some rooms, the best solution is an air purifier that cleans and dilutes the air in the entire room. In the second case, the most important thing is to protect a single workplace or a certain smaller area with an air purifier that directs clean air more precisely. Or when the person to be protected moves from one area to another, the best solution, in addition to high-quality personal protective equipment, can be a small portable air purifier," continues Väkevä.
Lifa Air air purifiers for kindergartens
The E3 project wants to use modern science and technology to create effective, globally competitive solutions to prevent the spread of new infectious diseases. "Our more than 30 years of experience in air purification and product development provides a solid foundation for the project. By combining research information and the technological know-how of different organizations, it is possible to find effective solutions that limit the spread of pathogens indoors. This is where we are at the very core of our work and we bring our own special expertise to the project. And we will certainly gain a lot of experience, new contacts and the latest information in the field," says Janette Mäkipää, Product Development Director of Lifa Air.
E3 starts an extensive study in kindergartens in the city of Helsinki. As part of the project, a two-year interdisciplinary study will begin, covering the entire early childhood education in the city of Helsinki. More detailed studies are being carried out in four kindergartens in Helsinki, the core purpose of which is to find out whether air purification can reduce the incidence of circulating upper respiratory tract infections and stomach diseases in children and adults.
"Air purifiers are being installed in daycare centers, and I'm looking forward to not only the scientific results about the health effects, but also the children's comments about our air purifiers," says Janette Mäkipää. "Reducing the illnesses of the daycare residents and staff, and of course also the children's parents, has a great impact on all of us parents of small children. In addition to the family's well-being, every avoided absence from the workplace is a cost saving, which all companies will probably be happy about," continues Mäkipää.
"During the corona pandemic, awareness of the role of airborne pathogens has clearly increased and we have ways to prevent the spread of diseases. The development of Lifa Air's air purifiers already started during the SARS-CoV-1 epidemic, and despite the unpleasant motivator, it is great to be involved in taking a new development leap with the E3 community", concludes Mäkipää.
Minna Väkevä, minna.vakeva(@)lifa.net
Janette Mäkipää, janette.makipaa(@)lifa.net