COVID-19 hospital airborne transmission prevented by air filters, study suggests

COVID-19 particles may be successfully filtered from the air to forestall transmission within the hospital utilizing moveable air filters and ultraviolet (UV) mild sterilization know-how, in accordance with a latest research.

Nature just lately reported the research, which is presently not peer reviewed, to be the primary to reveal how moveable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can scale back hospital transmission of detectable airborne COVID-19 virus in a real-world well being care setting. The analysis is presently reported within the preprint server MedRxiv.

There are nonetheless unanswered questions relating to the variant, a scientist mentioned.


The researchers seen throughout the pandemic hospital surges many COVID-19 sufferers had been in health care settings with out the right capability for prime frequency air-exchanges, noting the earlier experiments solely studied the flexibility to filter air, eradicating inactive particles in managed environments, however by no means within the real-world setting.

Lead intensivist Dr. Andrew Conway Morris, Clinician Scientist in Intensive Care Medication at College of Cambridge, wrote to Fox Information: “Earlier than we undertook this research we knew HEPA filters might take out small particles, however we didn’t know if this could work within the real-life atmosphere of a COVID-19 ward with moveable filters.”

From a 3 week interval between January to February earlier this yr when the hospital items surged to most capability, they repurposed two COVID-19 hospital items right into a basic ward and an intensive care unit (ICU).

HEPA filters had been put in in mounted places in these two settings, capitalizing on their capacity to take away smaller particles that hospital private protecting gear can typically miss.

They collected and in contrast the samples from the air when the HEPA filters had been turned off, the second week after they had been on, and the final week after they had been off once more.

The novel coronavirus was more than twice as contagious at the start of the pandemic than first thought, according to a new study from Duke University. 

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Nevertheless, when Morris “noticed the info we had been shocked [with the] full removing of SARS-CoV-2 from the ambiance of the ward examined.”

COVID-19 medium to giant measurement particles had been within the ward air earlier than the air filtration system began, however they might not be detected after the HEPA filtration system was turned on.

The study was most occupied with measuring medium to giant particles as a result of smaller particles are least prone to be generated by sufferers and never clinically related.

There was restricted proof of COVID-19 virus particles within the intensive care unit even at baseline and just one COVID-19 medium sized air pattern was optimistic after the filtration system was turned on.

He added, “It was additionally notable how little SARS-CoV-2 we discovered within the air in ICU, the place after all all of us put on the very best stage safety.”


The research suggests it may be extra necessary to filter COVID-19 from the air within the wards than within the intensive care unit, as fewer COVID-19 particles had been within the ICU at baseline, due to extra aerosol safety from PPE within the ICU and there’s much less viral replication at later levels of illness in unit sufferers.

The research has a number of limitations: it was performed for less than three weeks in two rooms throughout a worldwide pandemic with none outlined information of the optimum air exchanges required to take away viruses. As well as, as a result of there was a big quantity of air inside the two rooms studied and due to how steady the viruses had been within the samples, the authors notice they couldn’t actually state there was really circulating COVID-19 virus.

Regardless, Morris writes, “Total I feel this research has necessary implications for an infection management, we’d like pressing research to verify that air filtration reduces hospital-acquired an infection however from what we’ve discovered that appears prone to be the case.”

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