Research & references

Research

Reducing exposure to airborne viruses using air filtration systems

Summary

The world is struggling to confront the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the highly contagious severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), first identified in late 2019 in Wuhan China [1]. There is a concerted effort to reduce transmission so that the health care system is not overwhelmed. Viruses mainly leave an infected person’s body in connection with air and are introduced into a new host by inhalation or contact, for example by touching a contaminated surface and then your eye or nose. The dose of the virus which uninfected people receive matters both in terms of reducing transmission and because dose is linked to the severity of the illness.

There is a particular need to protect front line workers, who are regularly put into situations where exposure to the virus could potentially be high. The implementation of defensible ventilation systems for provisional and improvised health care facilities can form one part of this protection. For products which filter aerosol particles from contaminated air, the key factor is the rate at which clean air can be produced by the air filtration system. This is particularly important for spaces that are continuously being contaminated by respiration. The goal in this context is to have high throughput in order to quickly reduce viral load. We argue that air cleaning in enclosed spaces is an effective tool to combat transmission via airborne particles.

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