Israeli-made 'disinfection tunnel' promises safer coronavirus crowds

The tunnel is equipped with an automated aerosol spray system which quickly disinfects individuals, clothes and potentially contaminated belongings.

Bar-Ilan University researcher Dr. Izaak Cohen has his temperature checked before walking through a disinfection tunnel at Bloomfield Stadium (photo credit: YONI REIF)
Bar-Ilan University researcher Dr. Izaak Cohen has his temperature checked before walking through a disinfection tunnel at Bloomfield Stadium
(photo credit: YONI REIF)
Researchers at Bar-Ilan University have partnered with Karmiel-based company RD Pack to develop an innovative “disinfection tunnel,” a new solution which they say could enable large crowds to gather safely during the coronavirus crisis.
The walk-through tunnel sprays a patented tap water-based, environmentally-friendly disinfectant developed at Bar-Ilan University using electrochemical technology, which has been proven to powerfully eliminate bacteria and viruses, including microbes from the coronavirus family.
Designed to safely disinfect hundreds or thousands of individuals gathering daily at locations including stadiums, hospitals and schools, the tunnel is equipped with an automated aerosol spray system, which quickly disinfects individuals, clothes and potentially contaminated belongings.
The system will be tested at the VIP entrance to Jaffa’s Bloomfield Stadium, home to soccer teams Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Tel Aviv and Bnei Yehuda, until the end of the current season. Prior to entering the disinfection tunnel, all attendees must have their temperature checked and wear a mask.
“This disinfectant substance is extremely effective, 100 times more so than a regular disinfectant, and the advantage is that the substance is also unstable,” said Dr. Izaak Cohen, who developed and patented the disinfectant with Dr. Eran Avraham and Prof. Doron Aurbach of Bar-Ilan University’s Department of Chemistry and Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials. “Due to the substance being unstable, it is more friendly to the environment. Other disinfectants are more stable and remain on you, and can cause all sorts of burns. The more stable they are, the less friendly they are to both you and the environment.”

Bar-Ilan University researchers Dr. Eran Avraham (front) and Dr. Izaak Cohen (back) walk through a disinfection tunnel at Bloomfield Stadium (Credit: Yoni Reif)Bar-Ilan University researchers Dr. Eran Avraham (front) and Dr. Izaak Cohen (back) walk through a disinfection tunnel at Bloomfield Stadium (Credit: Yoni Reif)
RD Pack, specialists in the development and construction of automated industrial machines, has acquired the technology for the water-based disinfection process and is currently applying it in so-called disinfection tunnels and other automated solutions, including the disinfection of rooms and other spaces.
The company is currently working toward receiving approval from the Health Ministry to deploy the solution nationwide after recently showcasing the technology to Health Ministry deputy director-general Prof. Itamar Grotto.
“The objective is to create an active process that does not interfere with daily routine,” said RD Pack director of Business Development Eran Druker. “People think that coronavirus is over, but it is still with us. As people are no longer proactive in disinfection and cleaning, we are creating the opportunity for disinfection and breaking the chain of infection.”
While soccer matches at Bloomfield Stadium and games across Israeli professional sports will continue without the presence of spectators for this season at least, representatives from Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality remain eager to collaborate and test possible solutions that could protect crowds in the future.
“We see ourselves as a beta site for advanced technologies that may enable us, during this long interim period, to live with the coronavirus,” said Maor Binyamini, CEO of municipal company Sport Palaces of Tel Aviv Yafo, responsible for Bloomfield Stadium, Menora Mivtachim Arena and Shlomo Group Arena. “We offer a platform to almost every technology which could maybe assist during this period – to try out the technology, to test it and see whether it is suitable. Our target is to return the crowds and routine as soon as possible. The crowds are thirsty for these places and many individuals earn their livelihoods from them.”