In a new study from the University of Birmingham, researchers have developed new antimicrobial technology for air filters which can in seconds kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses including SARS-CoV-2.
It provides a potential solution to prevent the spread of airborne infections.
In a study, the antimicrobial treatment for air filters—coated with a chemical biocide called chlorhexidine digluconate (CHDG)—were rigorously tested and compared to commonly used standard ‘control’ filters.
In the laboratory, cells of the Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19—were added to the surface of both the treated and control filters and measured at intervals over a period of more than an hour.
The results showed that, while much of the virus remained on the surface of the common filter for an hour, all SARS-CoV-2 cells were killed within 60 seconds on the treated filter.
Similar results were seen in experiments testing bacteria and fungi that commonly cause illness in humans—including E. coli, S. aureus, and C. albicans.
This means the novel technology can be both highly effective anti-fungal and anti-bacterial air filter treatments.
Meanwhile, in order to determine how effective the filters are in a real-world setting, both the common and new air filters were installed in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems on train carriages.
The team found no pathogens survived on the treated filter, even after three months on-board the train.
Further tests also found the treated filters are durable and are able to maintain their structure and filtration function over the lifetime of their use.
The team says the new filter treatment can kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses—including SARS-CoV-2—in seconds.
This addresses a global un-met need and could help clean the air in enclosed spaces, helping to prevent the spread of respiratory disease.
NitroPep Ltd is now further developing the filters to deliver them as a product on the market.
For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about what you should know about the COVID-19 pill, and results showing vitamin D can be an inexpensive COVID-19 treatment.
The study is published in Scientific Reports and was conducted by Dr. Felicity de Cogan et al.
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