The General Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report that urges the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to directly address risks faced by meat and poultry processing workers, that were amplified by the COVID pandemic.
Strikingly, the GAO report cites two studies conducted by OSHA’s Office of Occupational Medicine and Nursing that concluded the risk of COVID infection among meat packing plant workers to be 56X to more than 70X greater than the average risk in their respective states. The key characteristics contributing to the higher risk delineated in the report are:
The CDC has acknowledged that it is investigating its recent Epidemiology Intelligence Service conference as a potential COVID super-spreader event. Nearly 200 in-person attendees at the conference reported testing positive for COVID in a post-conference survey, after several attendees informed conference organizers of positive COVID test results on the last day of the conference. Fortunately, there were no hospitalizations or deaths reported.
Notable among the post-conference survey results:
This outcome unders
Climate change, increased international travel, and other factors are what underlie the model projection by Airfinity Ltd. of a 28% chance of another pandemic as deadly as COVID-19 within the next 10 years. The risk drops to single-digit percentages if effective vaccines can be developed and distributed within 100 days - a far shorter period of time than was seen in the COVID-19 pandemic.
ASHRAE (American Society for Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) has more than 50,000 members representing more than 130 countries. The Society and its members “focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry.” Therefore it was notable that in October, 2022 in response to both the COVID pandemic and rising cases of RSV, the society issued a position document on infectious aerosols that recommended a multi-layered protective approach.
Specifically, while the ASHRAE position document reiterated support for proven building and infrastructure techn
The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recently released report entitled Transforming EPA Science to Meet Today’s and Tomorrow’s Challenges. The report reflects the findings of a committee, convened by NASEM and of which I was honored to be a member, tasked with providing EPA with recommendations on how to best orient their scientific enterprise to meet their current mission while also anticipating future environmental challenges.
The report recommends, among many recommendations, that EPA leverage its air quality and air pollutant measurement expertise to advance the science of aerobiology and improving our un
The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded Taza Aya $1M to adapt the company’s air curtain visor product for use by workers in the meat and poultry processing industry. Awarded through the Meat and Poultry Processing Research and Innovation (MPPRI) program, USDA is seeking to increase the resilience of the domestic food production industry, particularly for small and medium sized processors.
Of the three topic areas of interest sought by USDA, the Taza Aya technology addresses Topic Area #2: Worker Safety. Specifically, the need to protect workers from communicable diseases during stages of meat and poultry proces
In a bell-ringing ceremony reminiscent of the end of trading day at the DJIA, Innovation Partnerships, a unit of the UM Office of the Vice-President for Research, officially recognized Taza Aya as a UM spinout and licensee.
Co-founders Mike Drake and Herek Clack, along with newly appointed CEO Alberto Elli, each briefly spoke to the assembled audience, reflecting on the early days of the company, the challenges that arose, and the many ways in which Innovation Partnerships helped the company overcome them. Associate Director of Licensing, Physical Sciences & Engineering Keith Hughes related the company’s record of innovation as measured by invention disclosures and patent filings, and Associate VP for Research and Innovation Partnerships Kelly Sexton present
Taza Aya has named Alberto Elli as the company’s CEO. Alberto has executive leadership experience in public companies, private equity owned, and startups as well as serving as a career coach at Ann Arbor based Synko Associates, LLC. He has previously held CEO, COO, and CFO roles at Fortune 500 companies (SGP-Merck and Sherwin-Williams) and at mid-sized companies (Geneva Watch and D+M Sound). Beginning in 2013, Alberto served as CEO of Aquaro, Inc., an Ann Arbor based medical device startup that raised $10 million of funding under his leadership. He also served as COO and President of QAMF a worldwide leader in bowling equipment. For the last two years, he was a Senior Director with TadaNow an innovative startup SaaS platform that connects data, creates
The aerosol community has not forgotten how, early in the pandemic, their urgent calls for WHO, CDC, and other agencies to acknowledge the possibility that COVID-19 could be spread through the air - and the tremendous opposition against those calls. The reflections of the outgoing WHO chief scientist only offer further proof that how we view respiratory disease transmission has been fundamentally and permanently changed.
Taza Aya was named one of 16 start-ups making an impact in University of Michigan, 2022’s Annual Impact Report Innovation.
The article is here: https://innovationpartnerships.umich.edu/stories/u-m-innovation-partnerships-reports-433-inventions-16-new-startups-during-fy22/ including a PDF of the winners.
Important report from a National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) committee recommending future frameworks for expanding the availability of respiratory protection (historically, N95 masks but potentially newer approaches such as Taza Aya’s in the future) that go beyond the current limited list of professions to all workers potentially exposed to respiratory hazards (including airborne pathogens) and the public at large, including children.
A mandate for rethinking how we view - and what we demand of - personal respiratory
More evidence that mitigating airborne pathogens and maintaining healthful air is essential: A Univ. of Michigan study finds that COVID transmission via air was ~1000 times more likely than via contaminated surfaces on campus: https://news.umich.edu/at-u-m-risk-from-surface-contamination-of-covid-19-was-much-lower-than-air-transmission/
Herek Clack of Taza Aya is featured talking about Taza Aya’s solution at :55 seconds in this promotional video from University of Michigan’s Center for Entrepreneurship.
Coronavirus loses 90% of its ability to infect us within 20 minutes of becoming airborne – with most of the loss occurring within the first five minutes, the world’s first simulations of how the virus survives in exhaled air suggest.
The findings re-emphasize the importance of short-range Covid transmission, with physical distancing and mask-wearing likely to be the most effective means of preventing infection. Ventilation, though still worthwhile, is likely to have a lesser impact.
“People have been focused on poorly ventilated spaces and thinking about airborne transmission over meters or across a room. I’m not saying that doesn’t happen, but I think still the greatest risk of exposure is when you’re close to someone,” said Prof
In 2020, the JLabs QuickFire Challenge was Awarded to Taza Aya for $200,000! The challenge is described in the article and video below:
University of Michigan’s College of Engineering produces a YouTube video highlighting the work of Prof. Mirko Gamba and Herek Clack on the effort, during the early days of the pandemic, to support UM hospital by testing filtration of N95 masks after their disinfection. You can watch the interview here:
Taza Aya, Founder, Herek Clack being interviewed by Local ABC affiliate WXYZ: https://www.wxyz.com/news/coronavirus/coronavirus-what-could-the-future-hold-with-new-technology
Herek Clack, Founder of Taza Aya, and Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan wrote an article for The Conversation.
The big idea: It’s the enduring media image of infectious disease outbreaks, including the current coronavirus outbreak from Wuhan, China: people in public spaces with faces half-hidden by surgical masks.
Filters have long been used to remove particles, including viruses and bacteria, from the air we breathe. Particle filters are key components of building and aircraft ventilation systems. Unfortunately, viruses are much smaller than the smallest particles those filters typically capture reliably.
Read the full article here:
An article from the Daily Beast regarding a megachurch’s false claims that they could protect attendees at a rally for Former President Donald Trump using a technology installed in their ventilation system:
Taza Aya, founder, Herek Clack was quoted:
That’s not true, scientists said. The CleanAir EXP filter uses ionization to bind up particles and make them easier to pull out of the air. “This is not ‘zapping’ the virus and does not mean the virus has been rendered non-infectious,” Herek Clack, a University of Michigan environmental engineering professor, told The Daily Beast.
Read the full quote and full article here:
In the early days of COVID-19, Forbes was looking for insight into it from scientists. Herek Clack was interviewed. The full article is below:
The video below is also featured in this article: