Swisens goes beyond details – Swisens Poleno is based on ground breaking technology for the precise and reliable identification of airborne particles and aerosols. It is specially optimized for the identification of pollen-taxa in real-time and for long-term monitoring. Swisens Poleno marks the beginning of a new era in the measurement of bioaerosols.
Pollenmonitoring – Swisens Poleno is designed for the fully automatic and continuous monitoring of the concentration of the different pollen-taxa in the air relevant to people with allergies.
Pollenforecast – Particle identification within seconds allows for the calculation of the actual local pollen-taxa concentration with a time resolution in the range of minutes. This data can be used as input for pollen forecasts and numerical models.
The Problem – Pollen Allergy
More than 20% of the Swiss population suffers from a pollen allergy. The life quality of people subject to allergic rhinitis is highly affected and the economic impact is substantial. In the EU the cost per person with allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is up to 1’600€ per year including the direct treatment cost and the indirect costs due to decreased productivity.
The subject of allergy is very important because there are more and more people which are affected by allergies and the overall health costs due to allergies are increasing. While no one dies directly as a result of allergic rhinitis, the economic impact is substantial. Direct costs of over $600 million are spent in the USA annually in the management of this disease. This does not include the indirect costs of the two million lost workdays, three million lost school days and 28 million days of decreased productivity caused by the symptoms of the disease and/or side effects of the medications used to treat them. Solely in Europe, the direct and indirect costs are estimated to about 55 to 151 Billion € per year.
According to studies of the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients Associations (EFA) more than 80 Million (over 24%) of the adults in Europe are suffering from allergies and the prevalence of children, which lies between 30% to 40%, shows an increasing trend. The EFA postulates a Europe-wide legal binding for pollen measurements. The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EACCI) is postulating new and standardized measurement methods for allergenic aerosols with biological origin.
Pollen measurement and identification today
Since about 1950, pollen measurement in Switzerland and Europe is based on the established but old-fashioned Hirst pollen traps. The pollen is collected by an adhesive strip, which is analyzed manually once every week in a laboratory using microscopy by a person to identify and count the pollen. This is very time-consuming, expensive and the data is only available after up to nine days. Therefore, there are only 14 pollen collecting facilities all over Switzerland.
For a pollen forecast, there is neither information in real-time available nor is the regional resolution adequate. An improved regional and temporal resolution is desirable because the life quality of persons with pollen allergies can be improved strongly if they get information about the pollen concentration on an hourly basis. It allows affected people to take focused precautionary actions which lower the negative symptomatic effects. Besides, their productivity will not be affected anymore which leads to lower economic costs due to pollen allergies. There is an urgent need for better pollen information and devices that are able to autonomously identify different pollen in real-time.