October 18, 2018

How a Swiss scale-up is taking up the fight against the spread of infectious disease worldwide

Written by Smixin

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


Map depicting reduced diffusion of disease with handwashing interventions

Photo Credit: Smixin


It is the first time that academic research investigates 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 world wide reduces significantly. Say Dr. Christos Nicolaides, coordinator of the study from University of Cyprus and MIT.


Airport with handwashing stations near seats

Photo Credit: Smixin


With that, it is now possible to define a target handwashing ratio for airports to limit the spread of disease world wide. The fact that people do not wash their hands with water and soap costs tens of thousands of lives per year. 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 time.


People walking through an airport hallway with a handwashing station

Photo Credit: Smixin


“At Smixin, we are constantly working towards smart solutions that make handwashing accessible for everyone, everywhere. Built 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 Jean-Michel Deckers, CEO of Smixin AG.

Smixin is excited to join the Global Handwashing Partnership, alongside partners like Procter & Gamble, the World Bank, and Unilever. Smixin, dedicated to reinvent the handwashing process completely, is proud to be joining these renowned companies in their efforts to increase awareness for handwashing.