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According to a recent study, using portable air filters and ultraviolet (UV) light sterilization technology, COVID-19 particles can be effectively filtered from the air to prevent transmission in the hospital.

Nature A recently reported study, which is not currently peer reviewed, is the first to demonstrate that portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can detect airborne COVID-19 in a real-world health care setting. How hospitals can reduce transmission of the virus. Research is currently reported in Preprint Server medrxiv.

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The researchers observed that during the pandemic hospital many COVID-19 patients were in health care settings without the proper capacity for high-frequency air-exchange, in keeping with previous experiments to filter only air, inert particulates in a controlled environment. The ability to retract was studied, but never in a real-world setting.

Lead intensivist Dr. Andrew Conway Morris, physician scientist in intensive care medicine at the University of Cambridge, wrote to Granthshala News: “Before starting this study we knew that HEPA filters could remove small particles, but we didn’t know that. Whether it will work or not. In a real-life environment of a COVID-19 ward with a portable filter.”

They converted two COVID-19 hospital units into a general ward and an intensive care unit (ICU), from a three-week period between January and February earlier this year when hospital units reached maximum capacity.

HEPA filters were installed in fixed locations in these two settings to capitalize on their ability to remove tiny particles that hospital personal protective gear can sometimes miss.

They collected and compared samples from the air when the HEPA filters were off, the second week when they were on, and the last week when they were off again.

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However, when Morris “saw the data we were stunned”. [with the] Complete removal of SARS-CoV-2 from the environment of the tested ward.”

COVID-19 medium to large sized particles were in the ward’s air before the air filtration system was introduced, but they could not be detected after the HEPA filtration system was operational.

The study was most interested in measuring medium to large particles because small particles are least likely to be generated by patients and are not clinically relevant.

There was limited evidence of COVID-19 virus particles in the intensive care unit even at baseline and only one COVID-19 medium-sized air sample was positive after the filtration system was turned on.

“It was also remarkable how little we found SARS-CoV-2 in the air in the ICU, where of course we all wear the highest level of protection,” he said.

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The study suggests that filtering COVID-19 from the air in wards may be more important than in the intensive care unit because, because of greater aerosol protection from PPE in the ICU, fewer COVID-19 particles were in the ICU at baseline. UNIT patients have low viral replication in the later stages of the disease.

The study has several limitations: it was conducted for only three weeks in two rooms during a worldwide pandemic, without any defined data of the optimal air exchange required to remove the virus. In addition, because there was a large amount of air within the two rooms studied and how stable the viruses were in the samples, the authors note that they could not tell exactly where the COVID-19 virus was actually spreading.

Even though, Morris writes, “Overall I think this study has important implications for infection control, we urgently need studies to confirm that air filtration reduces hospital-acquired infections. found that it is likely to happen.”