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Canton company producing 'game changer' in battle against COVID-19

Attacking the virus from the inside out with UV-C light
The Tomahawk
Posted at 5:16 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 17:59:38-04

CANTON — As businesses welcome customers back, we know cleaning shared surfaces will be a top priority. One Canton company completely shifted gears to meet the growing demand for disinfecting.

Watch Mike Brookbank's full report on this local company's game-changing product on News 5 at 5:30 p.m.

Keeping the coronavirus in check, the challenge now, as once-shuttered factories, retail, and dining returns to the scene is “to get people back to life and back to work,” said Stelio Flamos.

Flamos’ company, Apache Industrial Services, tried purchasing a pair of sanitizing stations to better protect its workers.

“They’ll roll a unit in and zap the air,” said Flamos.

Because of high demand, two months later, the company is still waiting.

“We didn’t have any success,” said Flamos.

However, during the delay, the Canton company figured out a way to make their own.

“These systems have been used in the healthcare industry for 50-plus years,” said Flamos.

The result: The Tomahawk.

“The DNA of the cell, it pulverizes it,” said Flamos.

The Tomahawk uses UV-C light to break down cell walls and DNA of the virus.

“Our products destroy and eliminate 99.9% of COVID-19 viral DNA,” said Flamos.

The Tomahawk, made from necessity, is now expanding its reach.

“We’re decontaminating schools, churches, prisons, refineries,” said Flamos.

This particular wavelength of UV-C has the potential to be a game-changer, according to Dr. Cheryl Cameron.

“Excited about the possibility of using it. It is one of the probably perfect ways to go about decontaminating large spaces,” said Cameron.

Cameron is the chair of Case Western Reserve University’s COVID-19 Task Force Biosafety Committee.

“It may not completely sterilize a room, but what we’re looking for is ways to put us ahead in the game,” said Cameron.

There are a few things Cameron wants companies using the technology to keep in mind. First, they need to make sure it is operating properly.

“It definitely has to be able to deliver an effective dose,” said Cameron.

Second, the UV-C light will only kill the virus on surfaces it comes into contact with.

“So, any shadowed areas will not be decontaminated,” said Cameron.

The lamp bulbs can be placed into existing fixtures in hospitals, doctor's offices, schools, airports and airplanes.

“Highly populated, large spaces,” said Cameron.

Along with its Tomahawk, Apache Industries is rolling out a mass temperature reader that employers, stadiums and concert venues can use to detect illness.

“Can scan up to 5,000 people in 30 minutes,” said Flamos.

For now, the company has no plans to slow down production. Flamos said they will stay the course and keep cranking out these detection and sterilization systems.

“We are producing about 300 units a week. As the demand grows, we will be able to meet that demand,” said Flamos.

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