ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Dr. Katy Worrilow never thought she'd be making HVAC systems. "Never in my wildest dreams," she said.
Her company, LifeAire Systems, was originally designed to clean rooms used during in-vitro fertilization treatments. Turns out, sterile air increases the viability of an embryo.
"Our initial mission was to protect the human embryo. Which is an extremely sensitive cell," she said. "Once we learned that airborne metrics were so important, we looked for a commercial solutions to purchase and there was nothing that we were able to purchase."
It took two years to develop and commercialize with the help of Ben Franklin Tech Partners and HTLyons, who manufactures the system in Allentown. So far, they've installed the system in dozens of places around the world, many of them hospitals and nursing homes.
“Our system is five stages. Each stage proprietary and performing something very different as far as airborne pathogens," Dr. Worrilow said. The technology can sterilize air even beyond government thresholds, which has become necessary in the world of COVID 19. A recent study out of China suggests air systems can spread the virus from person to person.
"The calls and requests that we've been getting from hospitals in long-term care, now dental practices wanting to protect their non-infected patients. We've also been asked to deliver our system to protect what they call hot zones," she said.
Her husband, an attending ER doctor, inspired her to rework the system to clean N-95 masks. She did. In three weeks. "We want to lean forward and try to help others,” she said.
That system is currently being reviewed by the FDA.