According to a study conducted by researchers at University of Cambridge as well as Addenbrooke's Hospital, nearly all airborne COVID-19 virus particles can be removed from the air with the help of air filters.
The findings from the supposed research can not only enhance the safety of ‘surge wards’, but can also help establish air quality standards to limit the risk of indoor virus transmission.
As fears of another possible COVID-19 wave this winter mount, the research outcomes could also help hospitals effectively manage their repurposed surge cases wards, which generally lack the capacity to change the air on a frequent basis.
The study, which was published in the Clinical Infection Diseases journal, is advocating the use of portable air filtration as well as ultraviolet sterilization equipment as an effective technique of averting patient-to-healthcare worker transmission within COVID-19 wards.
Dr. Vilas Navapurlar, an intensive care medicine consultant who led the said study, stated that limiting airborne transmission of the coronavirus is critically essential for the safety of both staff and patients.
Navapurlar further added that effective personal protective equipment (PPE) has made a significant difference but anything that can be done to minimize the danger is critical.
The researchers used a highly efficient particulate air filter/UV sterilizer, which is a machine that is made up of thousands of layers of fibers woven together to make a material capable of filtering out coronavirus particles.
These devices were installed in fixed locations throughout the ward and ran for seven days, filtering the complete volume of the air present in every room about five to ten times per hour.
The scientists, doctors, and engineers collectively collaborated to create a new, reliable method for monitoring air quality.
They employed PCR assays comparable to those used in the ‘gold standard’ COVID-19 tests to test the samples obtained from air samplers placed throughout the room.
The researchers discovered that when the devices were functioning, they significantly reduced levels of bacteria, fungi, as well as other bioaerosols, as well as any evidence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Dr. Andrew Conway Morris, from the University of Cambridge department of medicine, stated that although it is a relatively small study, it underlines the potential to enhance the safety of surge wards, especially in areas that are not designed for managing infectious diseases like the coronavirus.