WHO DeMaND Study Shows New Way to Decontaminate AND Pre-Treat Masks

PPE Breakthrough Solution Provides Frontline Workers with Continuous Protection From COVID-19

SEATTLE – Singletto Founders, Drs. Thomas Lendvay and James Chen, and esteemed colleagues in a consortium of labs assembled through the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Task Force, co-authored a groundbreaking study released today. The study showed for the first time how Methylene Blue (MB), a common light-activated dye (LAD), can be applied to masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to both decontaminate coronavirus-infected PPE and provide continuous inactivation of the virus.

During the pandemic, healthcare and frontline workers have been forced to reuse masks and protective gear originally designed for one-time use. While some fortunate hospitals have access to cleaning and decontamination mechanisms (such as vaporized hydrogen peroxide or UV cleaning), these solutions are expensive, equipment-reliant, or otherwise prohibitive for many.

Deploying principles of Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), typically used for fighting cancer, Drs. Lendvay, Chen, et al. in the Development of Methods for Mask and N95 Decontamination (DeMaND) Study, discovered Methylene Blue dye diluted in water, applied to PPE infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic), and activated via a light source can lead to decontamination and inactivation of the virus on PPE materials.

This breakthrough provides for an immediate, affordable, and accessible decontamination method. The method also offers increased protection as PPE pre-treated with Methylene Blue was shown to offer ongoing inactivation of coronavirus during use. Current N95s and similar masks offer filtration, not inactivation. Many new products on the market offer filtration and/or decontamination. This new method can accomplish all three: filtration, decontamination, and ongoing inactivation.

The idea to use Methylene Blue on PPE came from neurosurgeon and innovator Dr. James Chen. When presented to the WHO, the concept was approved for inclusion in the DeMaND study.

Similarly, Dr. Chen, together with Dr. Lendvay, and Dr. Tanner Clark, co-founded Singletto earlier this year to bring light-activated dyes to the fight against SARS-CoV-2. Dr. Lendvay, of the University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital, and Dr. Clark, also of the University of Washington, garnered the assistance of CoMotion, the University of Washington's collaborative innovation hub, to move Singletto forward.

Dr. Chen says, "I feel my entire surgical and research career, and general passion for the therapeutic use of light, has led me to the this. I have seen light-activated dyes and light therapies improve lives and combat disease throughout my career. I am gratified that my hypothesis is true: We can reliably destroy coronavirus with these light-activated dyes."

Explaining the technology, Dr. Belinda Heyne, an international photochemistry expert and University of Calgary professor who also participated in the DeMaND study, says, "When activated by light, certain dyes create singlet oxygen. SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens, like viruses, bacteria, and fungi, are no match for singlet oxygen.”

Per Dr. Lendvay, singlet oxygen is created all the time all around us by sunlight. “We are exposed to singlet oxygen at smaller quantities on a daily basis. Light-activated dyes can increase singlet oxygen production. These short bursts of energized oxygen are then capable of breaking apart the chemical bonds of viruses and bacteria.”

Dr. David Evans, fellow DeMaND study contributor, a former member of the WHO Advisory Committee on Variola Virus Research, and one of Singletto's virology experts says, "The discovery that a light-activated dye creates enough singlet oxygen to provide continuous virus inactivation means it could very easily become the gold standard in decontamination methods deployed in hospitals, dental offices, nursing homes, and elsewhere."

With four sponsored labs, Singletto is conducting ongoing research to expand upon current research, including the DeMaND study, and Singletto is facilitating discussions with brands and product teams around the country to determine use-cases for singlet oxygen technology.

According to Dr. Lendvay, "The implications of the DeMaND study are undeniable. While the study focused on healthcare and PPE, Singletto believes there are lifestyle applications, as well. The average mom or dad out there needs to be able to affordably protect themselves, their children, and others from coronavirus and other dangerous pathogens. We want people to feel free, and safe, to live their lives again."

The World Health Organization (WHO) just added Methylene Blue and Light as a supported Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) decontamination method in the “Rational use of personal protective equipment for COVID-19 and considerations during severe shortages” interim guidelines.

About Singletto

Singletto provides the novel solutions needed to face the important medical and health challenges of today and tomorrow. Singletto builds pathogen-destroying singlet oxygen solutions to help you feel free to live well. Singletto works with healthcare-focused and general consumer brands and manufacturers to provide solutions for their existing and future products, technology, and systems by licensing its proprietary OxyFence™ technology. Singletto is seeking EUA (Emergency use Authorization) approval for certain use-cases of this technology for immediate COVID-19 relief.

For more information about the DeMaND Study, visit https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.12.11.20236919v1

For more information about Singletto, visit www.Singletto.com  

Singletto Contact: Media@Singletto.com


February 12, 2021
CBC: This simple mix of dye and light could decontaminate masks for reuse

Dr. Belinda Heyne was recently featured in a CBC piece covering the DeMaND study’s findings and the life-giving potential of dye and light.


January 15, 2021
World Health Organization Updates COVID-19 PPE Guidelines to Include New Decontamination Method: Methylene Blue + Light

The World Health Organization (WHO) just added Methylene Blue and Light as a supported Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) decontamination method in the “Rational use of personal protective equipment for COVID-19 and considerations during severe shortages” interim guidelines.


January 14, 2021
From Ebola to SARS-CoV-2: Dr. Mores Recaps His Recent DRC Trip

Arbovirologist, professor, and GWU lab director Dr. Chris Mores has just returned from Africa, supporting local and international field teams in the fight against Ebola in the DRC. Though COVID-19 has taken center stage over the last year, it’s important to remember other deadly viruses haven’t taken a day off. More with Chris Mores on fighting pathogens around the world.


January 8, 2021
Light-Activated Dyes Explained by a Foremost Expert

After years of fundamental research on photosensitizers, Belinda Heyne, Ph.D, now applies concepts of photochemistry and photobiology to the fight against pathogens. Her expertise and her lab’s unique ability to measure singlet oxygen directly make her critically important to Singletto’s ongoing research efforts and technology development. More with expert Belinda Heyne.


December 18, 2020
Video: DeMaND Study on Virus Decontamination Explained

In collaboration with the WHO, CDC, and a consortium of labs around the world, Singletto founders Drs. Chen, Lendvay and Clark, conducted extensive research on the decontamination effects of the light-activated dye Methylene Blue on viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. The positive results of such study have been pre-published on medRxiv. Watch our video to learn more.

John Bjornson

December 11, 2020
WHO DeMaND Study Shows New Way to Decontaminate AND Pre-Treat Masks

New standard for PPE decontamination discovered