RSF resident’s disinfectant company helps fight COVID-19
The Rancho Santa Fe-based company Zappogen is dedicated to bringing a hospital-grade sanitizing solution to more homes and businesses to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Zappogen system is powered by SpectraKill Ready to Use (RTU), a hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectant manufactured by SpectraShield Technologies in Arizona. Using Zappogen’s state-of-the-art hand-held diffusers and electro-sprayers, SpectraKill RTU administers a fine micron mist to disinfect airborne and surface-level areas from COVID-19 in a matter of minutes. In addition to zapping the virus that causes COVID-19, it can also help kill other harmful viruses, bacteria, fungi, mildew, mold, biofilms and over 40 other pathogens.
Jack Shevel, a Fairbanks Ranch resident, co-founded the company in June 2020 to provide the new gold standard in disinfection in the fight against COVID-19.
“What I wanted to do is empower people to be able to protect themselves,” Shevel said. “To enable and help individuals to create a safe, sanitized environment to keep themselves, their loved ones, employees and customers safe.”
In October, Zappogen was registered to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “List N” for disinfectants for coronavirus and has since seen the company grow, quadrupling its sales. Currently, the company has partnerships with a number of local establishments including the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club, The Crosby Club, The Farms, Welk Resorts, the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center and restaurants such as Dave’s Hot Chicken in Pacific Beach.
Shevel, a South African businessman and solutions-based entrepreneur, moved to Rancho Santa Fe in 2016. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Shevel was a practicing physician in South Africa for nine years and then got involved in hospital management in 1989. He founded a company called Netcare that become one of the largest healthcare enterprises outside of the United States, with facilities in South Africa and the United Kingdom.
After selling Netcare and moving to San Diego, he invested in a Canadian company, CareRx, a provider of specialty pharmacy services to seniors. He serves as chairman emeritus on the CareRX board of directors.
The creation of Zappogen started out as somewhat of a personal mission for health and safety. Last spring, Shevel found himself hospitalized twice after having developed an auto-immune disease—the doctors still do not know the cause.
“Being immunocompromised, when COVID hit there was a panic,” he said.
Shevel began a global search for the very best alternative to keep himself and his family safe: “I looked at everything from Russia, Denmark to UV light sanitizers.”
His research led him to a 2004 Brown University study which demonstrated that a disinfectant technology developed by the US military had the ability to kill the SARS-CoV virus, one of the five coronaviruses that infect humans and that caused the SARS outbreak in 2002 – the virus is very similar to SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19. Shevel found that the company SpectraShield Technologies was producing a modified version of the military-grade disinfectant in its SpectraKill product. He loved the science-backed product and felt that it should be available to millions of others in the fight to reduce infection rates.
With the help of his son Sean, who graduated this spring from Vanderbilt University, they sought to secure a distribution partnership.
“Zappogen is distinctively capable of adapting our disinfectant into an all-in-one, easy-to-use solution that protects all areas from COVID-19,” said Thad Weist, CEO of SpectraShield in a release. “Together, our products will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.”
Unlike traditional disinfectants, SpectraKill has the lowest toxicity rating possible making it safe to use around people and pets. There is no bleach or taurine and unlike other chemicals, it is odorless.
“One thing that is very important to us is that it is a certified green product, it’s eco-friendly,” said Shevel.
The solution kills pathogens in all applications on non-porous and porous surfaces, in the air and on the floor. With Zappogen’s handheld diffusers and electro-sprayers, a fine mist can spread throughout a room or area very quickly and it gets into all the crevices that can’t be reached with a spray and wipe. Shevel said it is also favorably priced at 30% cheaper than a comparable product.
Shevel said had hoped to go direct to consumer but had to scrap their whole marketing campaign after Facebook prohibited certain types of COVID-19 advertising. Instead, they have focused on business to business selling.
“My son and I are big golfers so our first port of call was The Farms,” he said.
As the game of golf is booming during the pandemic as a safe outdoor recreational activity, Shevel said the product was attractive to golf clubs as a way to quickly and efficiently sanitize golf carts, locker rooms and bag rooms. After getting the Farms signed up, Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club and The Crosby followed—Zappogen has also now partnered with Southern California PGA.
Beyond golf, Shevel said the sprayers are ideal for senior living facilities, hospitality establishments, restaurants, schools, offices, rental cars and many other settings.
“This is something that is industry-agnostic in terms of where it applies,” he said, noting that the product is now being used by San Diego’s police and ambulance departments inside their vehicles —he said their biggest compliment is that the product leaves behind no residue.
With the understanding that COVID “might be with us for awhile,” Shevel is happy that his product has gained a high level of interest and credibility on the market, putting what he believes to be the best disinfectant in action.
“SpectraShield shares our passion and dedication to safely mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and the EPA’s approval ensures countless individuals will be protected,” Shevel said.