Testing carried out in Spain has shown the effectiveness of ionisation technology in the reduction of a surrogate for Covid-19 in indoor environments.
The test was carried out by Tayra, a specialist HVAC company based in Madrid, and backed by the Spanish Ministry of Defense Biological Laboratory.
There is mounting research to suggest that clean, disinfected air plays a vital role in preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19.
While respiratory droplets are considered the primary transmission route, aerosols are being considered by many health authorities as a possible mode of infection transmission along with surface contact.
This suggests that viral particles can remain suspended in the air for long periods and can be inhaled.
The research tests were conducted in a Madrid hotel converted into a residence and confinement centre for medical staff during the pandemic.
The experiments took place in simulated ICU hospital rooms within the hotel. This environment was explicitly designed to test air ionisation on small aerosolized viral particles.
The laboratory analysis was carried out at a nearby operations center of the Spanish Ministry of Defense from 4-14 May.
The Plasma Air ioniser was chosen to suit the specific airflow and installed in the entrance to the fan coil unit of the supply air duct test space.
The bacteriophage MS2 was then nebulised into the test space. During the two distinct phases of the test, the supply air entering the test room was ionised using Plasma Air's bipolar ionisation system.
In contrast, during the second phase, the supply air into the room was untreated.
A reduction of approximately 2 log units of the Bacteriophage was obtained in the air that was ionised by the Plasma Air system. This corresponds to a 99% reduction after only 10 minutes of exposure to ionisation.
In addition to the Spanish government ministries, the experiments also involved academics in the fields of engineering, microbiology, and computational fluid dynamics, along with Spanish government appointed testing labs.
The tests also included using mannequin to simulate ICU patients. The mannequins were equipped with specialised filters to measure the amount of Bacteriophage that was being breathed in with and without air ionisation.
Air ionisation works through the reaction of negatively and positively charged ions. The ions attach to airborne pathogens, such as viruses causing a chemical reaction on the cell membrane's surface. This deactivates the viruses, rendering them harmless, so they can no longer spread or cause infection.
The ionisation system used during the Spanish trials is available commercially on a worldwide basis from a network of distributors and is used in offices, hotels, transport hubs, schools and hospitals, as well as in Los Angeles International Airport and the new Doha and Riyadh metro systems.
Meanwhile, a little-known company in Hong Kong is helping to put the Premier League on road to recovery as it is set to return this week.
Prenetics/Circle DNA is playing a key role in rebooting the world's most popular football league after landing a contract to screen its players and staff for Covid-19.
The company has set up stations at each of the Premier League's 20 clubs, carrying out testing twice a week -- using partner laboratories in Britain - in the run-up to Wednesday's return to play.
So far, 8,687 deep-throat and nasal swab tests have turned up 16 cases, with Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City, Bournemouth, Watford and Burnley all revealing positive results.
The screening, with results available within 48 hours, has been a major factor in the return of the Premier League.
The Premier League contract was a departure for the Hong Kong firm, whose core business is carrying out DNA tests for consumers keen to know their health risks for diseases such as cancer.
Discussions began about two months ago, after the pandemic had halted professional sport worldwide and as competitions searched for ways to restart safely.
Prenetics/Circle DNA is now in talks with other major competitions, including Spain's La Liga. Covid-19 looks likely to linger as a hazard for professional sport until a vaccine is available.