Could you tell us a bit about Aerte?

Vegard Kjaerheim: Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Aerte produces innovative air purification systems for consumers and trade. The award-winning company has harnessed its unique understanding of atmospheric chemistry, microbiology and infection control to deliver products that eliminate airborne pathogens and thereby reduce the risk of infections and outbreaks. Aerte is present in most countries in Europe and many in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

How important is having clean air in cruise ship environments?

Clean air is important to prevent the spread of airborne microbes. The majority of cruise ship infections are caused by respiratory and gastrointestinal microbes, like influenza and norovirus, being able to spread through the air. Published academic papers indicate a clear link between the number of airborne pathogens and the number of infections.

In a controlled environment at the Health Protection Agency laboratory at Porton Down, UK, we were able to reduce the prevalence of airborne viruses by 99.999%.

How do Aerte’s products help?

By mimicking the continuous disinfection process that goes on continually in nature – for example, in forests – our units eliminate airborne pathogens regardless of the weather or time of day. More specifically, certain reactive oxygen species are produced that deal with airborne and surface contaminants.

In a controlled environment at the Health Protection Agency laboratory at Porton Down, UK, we were able to reduce the prevalence of airborne viruses by 99.999%. Reducing the number of airborne pathogens is important since an estimated 33% of all infections are spread through the air. Our technology is effective against a whole range of microbes – from bacteria and viruses to fungi and spores.

Could you give a specific case study of your work in the cruise industry?

Until now, our focus has been the healthcare sector, where we have several case studies that prove the efficiency and benefit of our patented technology. Given that we are now converting this experience for use in the cruise industry, it would be helpful to mention a few examples of our success. For instance, a group of NHS hospitals in the UK had historically been prone to norovirus infections. After the installation of Aerte’s products, the number of outbreaks was reduced from 17 to seven. This led to happier patients and staff, an improved reputation for the hospital and a massive reduction in cost. Also, after installation of our technology, a specialised hospital for cardiac surgery and treatment in Norway was able to restart its procedures after being shutdown due to high airborne bacterial count. Similarly, City Hospitals Sunderland reported close to a 90% reduction in clostridium difficile cases after implementing our technology.

In general, why should customers choose you over your competition in the marketplace?

Despite numerous attempts to eliminate norovirus outbreaks on board cruise ships, it seems that there is still room for improvement. Together with leading scientists and engineers, we have developed an active technology to fight norovirus infections 24/7, in all settings, with great results. Our AD 2.0 units are safe and easy to use – no special expertise is needed to install, operate or maintain them. Our technology is also scalable, meaning it can be used in all types of environments.

What plans do you have going forward?

So far, our technology has been well received in the cruise industry. We will take advantage of our experience from the healthcare sector and continue to play an important role in combatting infectious diseases – now aboard cruise ships.