East Carolina University researchers possibly have made a success in preventing the transmission of coronavirus in enclosed indoor environments.
They discovered the virus in the university’s ventilation systems after a months-long investigation.
HVAC air sampling, according to the researchers, might be a useful COVID-19 surveillance strategy, especially for new facilities and buildings used for congregate living.
Sinan Sousan, an assistant professor at the Department of Public Health, remarked, “It was an extraordinarily challenging project.” Airborne detection of the virus within buildings, according to researchers, can be difficult.
During the spring semester of 2021, the team sampled HVAC air in two five-story dorms for more than three months. Their objective was to see if they could detect the infection for the entire facility from a single site.
Rachel Roper, an infectious disease specialist at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, stated, “We had a lot of situations where we discovered it in the air, and it was also detected in the kids by the random weekly testing that ECU was performing on students.” “In obvious we couldn’t examine every student as we did with the air testing, but the two had a very decent correlation.”
According to Roper, the study highlights the importance of improved air flow and purification in similar contexts such as commercial ships and resorts. “We discovered how crucial it is to bring in an outside air because the virus may gather in the air if a huge number of people are sick in the facility,” she continued.
“Any huge facility would be acceptable,” Roper noted, “particularly jails, dormitories, military barracks – anything like that – perhaps day care institutions or any location where you’re concerned about a virus transmitting.”
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According to experts, none of the students included in the trial were ill, although one of them tested positive for coronavirus a day or two later.
Researchers have pointed out that air monitoring and human testing were not done on a daily basis.
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