The removal of airborne SARS-CoV-2 and other microbial bioaerosols by air filtration on COVID-19 surge units


  • The removal of airborne #SARS-CoV-2 and other microbial bio#aerosols by air filtration on COVID-19 surge units | medRxiv


    This study examined the effect of air filtration and ultra-violet (UV) light sterilisation on detectable airborne SARS-CoV-2 and other microbial bioaerosols.

    We conducted a crossover study of portable air filtration and sterilisation devices in a repurposed surge COVID ward and surge ICU. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) cyclonic aerosol samplers and PCR assays were used to detect the presence of airborne SARS-CoV-2 and other microbial bioaerosol with and without air/UV filtration.

    Airborne SARS-CoV-2 was detected in the ward on all five days before activation of air/UV filtration, but on none of the five days when the air/UV filter was operational; SARS-CoV-2 was again detected on four out of five days when the filter was off. Airborne SARS-CoV-2 was infrequently detected in the ICU. Filtration significantly reduced the burden of other microbial bioaerosols in both the ward (48 pathogens detected before filtration, two after, p=0.05) and the ICU (45 pathogens detected before filtration, five after p=0.05).

    These data demonstrate the feasibility of removing SARS-CoV-2 from the air of repurposed surge wards and suggest that #air filtration devices may help reduce the risk of hospital-acquired SARS-CoV-2.