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Weekly COVID-19 Update: ASHRAE's New Guidance, a Threat to Cold Chain Security, and More

12/07/2020
ANSI News

The ANSI Federation and standardization community are stepping up with guidance, resources, and initiatives to support public health, safety, and infrastructure during the COVID-19 outbreak. Suggestions for news items may be submitted to pr@ansi.org. All submissions are published at ANSI's discretion.

ASHRAE Releases Epidemic Task Force Laboratory Subcommittee Guidance Document

As more data points are available that indicate that the potential for exposure from aerosolized particles should be addressed, ASHRAE's Epidemic Task Force has published a guidance document that addresses the mitigation strategies unique to the laboratory environment.

"Initially, the laboratory environment was considered low risk for aerosol transmission because these facilities are already designed with the safety of occupants as a key performance indictor; typically through the use of 100% outside air (i.e., no recirculation) supply systems, higher air change rates, and exhaust systems designed to minimize re-entrainment of contaminated air," the document asserts. "However, these same systems provide unique operating conditions that require distinct mitigation strategies to minimize the risk of transmission of aerosolized particles. Several recommended mitigation strategies that may be prudent for other building types should not be employed in a lab environment because they may adversely impact the air flow patterns within the lab and/or the performance of existing containment devices."

Access the document via ASHRAE.org.

IBM Sounds Alarm for COVID-19 Cold Chain Security

IBM reports that its Security X-Force published threat research disclosing the discovery of a highly targeted operation against the COVID-19 vaccine cold chain that supports The Vaccine Alliance’s Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platform (CCEOP) program, launched by Gavi Alliance, and UNICEF, which aims to safely transport a vaccine to underdeveloped regions. According to IBM, the regions also rely on external aid to store their vaccines in temperature-controlled environments.

IBM's X-Force Exchange is supported by human- and machine-generated intelligence, and helps users stay ahead of emerging threats.

Some of the elements detailed in IBM's research include: 

  • Attackers impersonated a key individual from a Chinese biomedical company to conduct spear-phishing attacks against global organizations that provide material support to the cold chain. 
  • Credential harvesting attempts against global organizations in at least six countries to access sensitive information pertaining to the vaccine transport and distribution.

Access the full news item via IBM.

Tile Council of North America Announces Hygiene Guides

The Tile Council of North America, which coordinates Why Tile, a free resource for consumers and the Architecture & Design (A&D) industry sector for both residential and commercial projects, has announced that in the wake of COVID-19 concerns for surface hygiene, it has released of a collection of resources defining the health benefits of ceramic tile coverings. The Hygiene Guides, available on whytile.com, provide quick access to hygiene information on ceramic tile collected into one location.

“Why Tile® responded to the demand by specifiers and consumers alike to understand the advantages of using ceramic tile for our health and safety,” says Kathy Meyer, marketing director, TCNA. “The Hygiene Guides provide an easy-to-navigate free digital resource covering topics ranging from cleaning tips to post-pandemic kitchen design.”

See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting Standardization Community Response

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