02 March 2023

Viruses, bacteria and antibiotic resistance under the lens of scientists

Global warming increases the circulation of viruses and bacteria and antimicrobial resistant infections

Despite the end of the pandemic, health institutions invite us not to let our guard down because global warming due to climate change could increase the circulation of viruses and bacteria, moreover antibiotic resistance could increase the risk of new epidemics.


In Italy, the National Pandemic Center is responsible for preparing the state for emerging diseases and possible future pandemics. The team led by Rino Rappuoli is studying the most dangerous families of viruses, potentially capable of originating a pandemic, the families of viruses that cause respiratory infections transmissible via aerosols, as they are easier to spread, and working on bacteria resistant to antibiotics, which Rappuoli calls it a "silent pandemic" because they are becoming more and more frequent. Interviewed by TGR Piemonte, Rappuoli also underlined that we must prepare for new viral forms, because global warming brings more viruses transmitted by insects.


What is antibiotic resistance?


A fundamental theme, already known for several years but which is assuming ever greater dimensions, is that of antibiotic resistance (ABR) - or rather the adaptation of some microorganisms, which acquire the ability to survive or grow in the presence of a concentration of an antibacterial agent - mainly due to the excessive and inappropriate use of these drugs in human, veterinary and agricultural medicine. According to a recent report by UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme, high temperatures due to climate change are causing an increase in infections resistant to antimicrobials, a category which also includes antibiotics. Furthermore, as the Ministry of Health recalls, the fact that the effectiveness of the treatment is reduced means that patients remain contagious for a longer time, thus increasing the risk of spreading microorganisms and thus generating possible epidemic outbreaks.


How to counter the spread of viruses and bacteria that spread in the air?


During the pandemic, Beghelli exploited his knowledge of UV-C ultraviolet rays to design and launch SanificaAria, an air sanitization system that uses the patented uvOxy® technology for the inactivation of bacteria and viruses, a process for sanitizing the air which is based on a closed chamber system saturated with UV-C rays with a tested efficacy of up to 99.9%. The air present in the room is sucked in and introduced into a chamber in which the UV-C source is active where the sanitization process is carried out, at the end of which the air is expelled and returned to the room. The chamber is constructed in such a way that only air can pass through it without any residual UV-C radiation escaping from the chamber itself. This process can take place, in total safety, even when people are inside the environment. This product line has been subjected to numerous tests by private research centers and universities to verify its effectiveness in reducing SARS-CoV 2 contacts, efficiency and safety. In particular, the tests carried out by the Occupational Medicine specialist unit of the University of Bologna revealed the effectiveness of the Beghelli SanificaAria in eliminating bacteria and viruses from the air, in real conditions, in rooms intended for hospital use, in very short.