In this sense, inhalation or contact with the air exhaled by other users cannot be avoided, as they all breathe the same air in the room, which means a high risk of contagion for those diseases that are transmitted through the air in the form of aerosols.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a radical change in society. Health measures have had to be taken to reduce or prevent the spread of the virus, leading changes in customs and habits, in the economy and in social life.
A Spanish reasearch group has proposed a solution that guarantees the intake of disinfected air to one or multiple users in a safe and individual way. Once the air has been used, it is channeled and disinfected, avoiding at all times the mixing of both air currents. In this simple way, possible contact with the air exhaled by other users is prevented, thus ensuring a practically null risk of contagion and/or infection.
The system (Figure 1) consists of an air circulation circuit where a series of individual masks can be connected (see Figure 1). More, specifically, the technology consists of:
- an air collector with a simple filtering system to prevent the entry of coarse particles and insects;
- a compressor or blower that allows the air to circulate through the entire circuit;
- a HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air) filter or similar behind the drive system;
- a sterilisation chamber;
- an air conditioning system to the distribution circuit (temperature and humidity);
- the distributed circuit itself with as many outlets as there are in the enclosure: each of these outlets will be connected to each individual mask by means of a nozzle (which may be equipped with a non-return valve).
The individual mask will be fitted with another nozzle for connection to the exhaled air removal circuit. This circuit will be equipped with a disinfection chamber of the same type as that described for the inlet, and will conduct the air (again disinfected) to the outside for disposal. The masks shall be waterproof over their entire surface -except for the nozzles- and may be fitted with a conventional filter FPP1 or FPP2 type for when they not connected to the System (FFP = filtering face piece).
This ensures that users can breathe disinfected air all time when connected to the system.
The procedure for collective air disinfection comprises the following stages:
a) Pre-disinfection of the air in the distribution circuit;
b) Individual use/breathing of this air, and;
c) Subsequent disinfection of the used air in the extraction circuit.
This ingenious system could be useful in closed spaces of common use, such as:
- Leisure facilities: cinemas, theatres, television studios and other cultural disciplines.
- Means of transport: planes, trains, buses, metros, trams, taxis, ferries.
- Hospitals, operating theatres, waiting and consultation rooms, bedrooms and other facilities.
- Offices, meeting rooms and boardrooms.
- Banks and branch offices.
- Fixed posts in supermarkets and shopping centres, such as cash registers.
- Public administration services.
- Private homes.
This is a simple way of guaranteeing a healthy microenvironment in closed spaces commonly used in the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases transmitted by air in the form of aerosols.
The research group is looking for patent licensing agreements. The company should be responsible for the development of the commercial prototype, the validation of the technology in real scenarios, and its introduction into the market. The university will be ready to provide technical assistance in each step, if required, specilly to adapt the technology to the scenario/place needed by the company.