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Do Air Filters Work Against COVID-19? New Study Shows It Can Significantly Reduce Coronavirus in Hospital Wards

Air filter
Do Air Filters Work Against COVID-19? New Study Shows It Can Significantly Reduce Coronavirus in Hospital Wards (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Researchers from the University of Cambridge in the UK conducted a study to determine whether using air filters in COVID hospital wards could reduce airborne transmission of coronavirus. Researchers emphasized that reducing airborne transmission is extremely critical in ensuring the safety of patients and hospital staff and that means anything that can reduce the risk of infection is important.

 

Portable air filter

Close-up of female hand turning on an air purifier and ionizer (PHOTO: University of Michigan Health Lab)

 

Airborne Transmission in COVID Hospital Wards is a Cause of Great Concern

At the beginning of the pandemic, the UK is among the countries that experienced large numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations that stretched the capabilities of the National Health Service (NHS). Due to this, hospital rooms or wards not usually used for infectious diseases were used to cope with a large number of patients.

This also highlights the importance of making these spaces safe not only for the patients but for the staff as well. Forbes reported that researchers of the study were able to pull together a tea to examine whether portable filtration devices might reduce airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and make these wards safer.

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Air Filters Reduce Coronavirus in COVID-19 Hoispital Wards

According to News Medical Life Sciences, the team performed their experiment in two repurposed COVID-19 units in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in which one area catered simple oxygen treatment or no respiratory support, while the second room required ventilation.

They installed a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air filter and a UV sterilizer in these rooms for seven days to filter the air between five and ten times per hour.

They found that amount of SARS-CoV-2 in the ICU went down in the weeks when the air filters were on, but it went up when they were switched off. Also, they noticed that air filters significantly reduced levels of bacterial, fungal, and viral bioaerosols on the two rooms, which showed an added benefit of the air filtration systems.

They concluded that cleaner air would reduce the risk of airborne transmission but it is unlikely that simply installing an air filter will be enough to guarantee that it is safe from coronavirus. The important part of the study is to develop a way to measure air quality and monitor the standards for clean air.

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