London’s 100 Club to pilot new ventilation system designed to combat airborne coronavirus pathogens

"This is an opportunity to be leading the way in getting grassroots music venues and the entire hospitality industry open again"

The 100 Club in London is set to pilot a new ventilation system next month that aims to wipe out 99.99% of dangerous airborne pathogens, such as coronavirus, within buildings.

The 350-capacity venue, which has once again been forced to close its doors after London was placed into Tier 3 earlier today (December 16), will trial the Pathogen Reduction System (PRS) in January.

Developed by a British team of engineers, scientists, medical experts and entrepreneurs, the PRS has been designed to fit into a building’s existing ventilation system. It then works to scrub indoor air clean “by using high intensity UVC light to safely inactivate 99.99% of dangerous airborne pathogens such as COVID-19, MRSA, measles, TB and the common flu virus”.

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The team behind the PRS note that it utilises a similar technology to what is used in water treatment plants and to disinfect theatres in hospitals, “but the intensity of the UVC light in the PRS is higher and the way in which the UVC light is used is different”.

The aim of the PRS trial at the 100 Club is “to prove that the integration of this new system into a building’s air conditioning creates an indoor environment that is COVID-secure, allowing audience numbers to return to a pre-pandemic normal for Britain’s 1,100 theatres and thousands of live music venues,” a press release adds.

100 Club owner Jeff Horton said that his venue agreed to trial the PRS technology “without hesitation” and added that they are “very excited to be the pilot venue”.

“The 100 Club has always attempted to be a leader in bringing new music to the forefront and this is an opportunity to be leading the way in getting grassroots music venues and the entire hospitality industry open again after the dire consequences of Covid-19,” he said. “We also see this as an opportunity to future-proof the venue should the world be brought to its knees again at some point down the road by another pandemic.”

The PRS trial at the 100 Club is being backed by the Music Venue Trust, whose CEO Mark Davyd added: “In the UK, risk management is currently built around ‘Hands, Face, Space’ [HFS], which act together to prevent the spread of infection. Whilst effective, it’s impossible to enforce in a live music setting and, with capacity reduced to an average 24% of normal, is financially impractical to impose. We need a model like ‘Test, Clean, Prevent’ [TCP] that works to prevent the virus entering our events, disables it if it squeezes in and prevents it from harming anyone if it makes it past those two layers.”

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Davyd continued: “Using the PRS as part of a TCP approach creates the opportunity for economically viable increased capacity events. The government has invested huge amounts of money into mothballing venues or supporting limited capacity events reliant upon adherence to HFS by the individual.

“For a fraction of this cost, it could work with the live music industry to develop and deliver a comprehensive TCP approach to live events, remove the reliance on HFS by individuals, and create an economically viable sector with a negligible infection risk.”

Last week, the president of Live Nation, Joe Berchtold, said that he felt “very good” about the prospect of traditional live music returning next summer.

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