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Why air conditioners at hospitals need a sanitising system

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With COVID-19 hitting the world, Himanshu Agarwal, CEO and Founder, Magneto Cleantech, shares his insights on why air santisation is the need of the hour 

It is a popular belief that indoor air is cleaner than outdoor air and contains a lesser number of harmful particles and microbes. In reality, indoor air can be upto 15-times more polluted than outdoor air, and air-conditioning can, in fact, be a source of contamination for viruses and infections. This fact is worrying, especially at a time when the world is facing an unprecedented pandemic COVID-19.

In central air-conditioned indoor spaces, the risk of virus transmission is higher as compared to other areas. This is due to the air being circulated from various parts of the building and released into the room, exposing people to not only the COVID-19 virus, but also other pollutants, infectious germs, gases, and particles present in the air. If these air-conditioned spaces are not maintained properly (which usually is not), the AC becomes a breeding ground for viruses since they recirculate the same air back and forth.

Air Sanitisation: Need of the hour

‘Air sanitisation’ is a straightforward concept where viruses, bacteria, germs and particulate matter (PM 2.5) from the indoor air are trapped into a system that kills these pollutants within the system and releases not just complete sanitised air, but healthy air back into the room.

While it was always important, in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, air sanitisation might become the new benchmark for all kinds of indoor spaces, especially in hospitals and other healthcare facilities where everybody is under danger of getting infection from one or the other source starting from a person to an air-conditioning system. There have been news around hospital-acquired infection and cross-infection; however, technologies have always been trying to fight with them. Reports suggest that hospitals around the world have become hotspots for the novel coronavirus infection, posing huge risk to healthcare workers. In fact, thousands of medical professionals have already been infected, and some have succumbed to the virus as well. In a study posted preprint repository medRxiv, researchers found out that one of the primary routes of COVID-19 transmission is through large respiratory droplets, which can be of varying sizes, ranging between one to over 10 µm. The spread, however, can be controlled or accelerated by heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. This emphasises the importance of deploying an advanced air sanitisation system across hospitals. Many global industry bodies have already put in place certain safety guidelines for healthcare facilities. Eurovent, Europe’s Industry Association for Indoor Climate (HVAC), has stated that HEPA filters (High Efficiency Particulate Air) should be mandatory in critical, high-risk, healthcare-sensitive environments like hospitals, clinics, quarantine facilities and ambulances, etc.

Technology-based solutions

The advent of technology has made even the most complex things simple; air sanitisation being one Today, clean air technology brands are coming out with air sanitizers and cleaners infused with cutting-edge technology that can actually show you the quality of indoor air that you are breathing.

More and more healthcare facilities are turning to central air cleaners, a filterless magnetic technology, which is highly efficient to eliminate infectious viruses, particulate matter, gases and other disease-causing germs. This technology protects users not only from cross-infection, disease causing bacteria, allergens etc., but also from respiratory diseases-inducing particulate matter and heavy dust.  The technology has also been recognised to eliminate the risk of hospital-acquired infections.

PGI, a Chandigarh-based hospital and research centre, has installed Magneto central Air Cleaners to sanitise the air that their employees are breathing, protecting them against transmission of all kinds of infections and viruses with also a vision to stop any kind of hospital-acquired infection for patients, hopital staff and visitors. Gangaram Hospital (UVGI) and Leelawati Hospital (PHIO+) have also deployed advanced air filtration technology to safeguard their healthcare workers who are fighting against COVID-19.

Global industry bodies have released advisories on how to protect different kinds of spaces against coronavirus. One of the main elements of these advisories is ‘air sanitisation’ with solutions that are ISO16890-certified, can trap SARS-CoV2 category of viruses (where coronavirus belongs) with over 80 per cent efficiency. Hospitals around the world are preparing to tackle the challenge of rising cases of coronavirus based on these guidelines, making environments as safe as possible for their staff and patients alike.

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