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Publication Detail
Use of portable air purifiers to reduce aerosols in hospital settings and cut down the clinical backlog
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Salmonsmith J, Ducci A, Balachandran R, Guo L, Torii R, Houlihan C, Epstein R, Rubin J, Tiwari MK, Lovat LB
  • Publisher:
    Cambridge University Press (CUP)
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    1, 17
  • Journal:
    Epidemiology & Infection
  • Status:
  • Country:
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Notes:
    © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
SARS-CoV-2 has severely affected capacity in the NHS, and waiting lists are markedly increasing due to downtime of up to 50 minutes between patient consultations/procedures, to reduce the risk of infection. Ventilation accelerates this air cleaning, but retroactively installing built-in mechanical ventilation is often cost-prohibitive. We investigated the effect of using portable air cleaners (PAC), a low-energy and low-cost alternative, to reduce the concentration of aerosols in typical patient consultation/procedure environments. The experimental setup consisted of an aerosol generator, which mimicked the subject affected by SARS-CoV-19, and an aerosol detector, representing a subject who could potentially contract SARS-CoV-19. Experiments of aerosol dispersion and clearing were undertaken in situ in a variety of rooms with 2 different types of PAC in various combinations and positions. Correct use of PAC can reduce the clearance half-life of aerosols by 82% compared to the same indoor-environment without any ventilation, and at a broadly equivalent rate to built-in mechanical ventilation. In addition, the highest level of aerosol concentration measured when using PAC remains at least 46% lower than that when no mitigation is used, even if the PAC’s operation is impeded due to placement under a table. The use of PAC leads to significant reductions in the level of aerosol concentration, associated with transmission of droplet-based airborne diseases. This could enable NHS departments to reduce the downtime between consultations/procedures.
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Dept of Mechanical Engineering
Dept of Mechanical Engineering
Div of Infection & Immunity
Department of Targeted Intervention
Dept of Mechanical Engineering
Dept of Mechanical Engineering
Dept of Mechanical Engineering
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