Handwashing as step ONE against the spread of infectious disease.

MIT research funded by Smixin

  • Researchers from MIT, Berkeley and the University of Cyprus demonstrate in their research that hand washing (with soap) whilst air traveling can reduce the risk of a pandemic outbreak up to 65%.
  • Smixin takes a leading role by supporting this research project, aiming to elucidate the role of hand-hygiene on the global spread of infectious diseases.

Biel/Bienne, Switzerland – As part of its ongoing advocacy efforts, the Swiss cleantech scale-up Smixin AG is engaged in comprehensive research, led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, UC Berkeley, and the University of Cyprus. The research proves the strong impact that the hand-hygiene behavior of airport population can have on the diffusion of infectious and bacterial diseases worldwide. Furthermore, it identifies 10 airports that have a key role with regard to spreading global disease: when the ‘handwashing engagement’ increases at those airports only, the impact of the disease spreading worldwide would decrease already up to 37%1.

It is the first time that academic researchers investigate the direct link between the outbreak of a pandemic and the handwashing behavior of the population in airports. “We observed that by increasing the handwashing frequency of the airport population, the spreading power of infectious disease worldwide reduces significantly”, says Dr. Christos Nicolaides, coordinator of the study from University of Cyprus and MIT. With that, is it now possible to define a target handwashing ratio for airports to limit the spread of disease worldwide.

The fact that people do not wash their hands with water and soap costs tens of thousands of lives per year1. But even though handwashing is a cornerstone of public health, actual rates of proper handwashing around the world are quite low and vary widely: on average, handwashing with soap is only practiced 19% of the time3.  “At Smixin, we are constantly working towards smart solutions that make handwashing accessible for everyone, everywhere. Build on the clear preliminary results of this research, we will continue to engage authorities and airports to create more opportunities to wash your hands at airports”, declares Smixin AG.

Smixin has joined the Global Handwashing Partnership, alongside partners like Procter & Gamble, the World Bank and Unilever. Also, Smixin donates 10.000 liters of fresh drinking water per handwashing system they install in the field via Made Blue. Smixin, dedicated to reinvent the handwashing process completely, is proud to be joining these initiatives in their efforts to increase awareness for handwashing. The Global Handwashing Day Partnership is a coalition of international stakeholders who work explicitly to promote handwashing with soap and recognize hygiene as a pillar of international development and public health.