How can hospitals improve ventilation?

It’s been a busy few weeks in the House of Commons as MPs debate the effectiveness of the UK government’s coronavirus response. While there’s no doubt that the past 15 months have presented politicians with impossible decisions and extremely challenging circumstances in which to operate, there was one admission recently by the Health Secretary , which demonstrated how far medical settings still need to go in order to implement effective airborne infection control procedures. Reporting to the House of Commons, the Health Secretary recently admitted that hospital ventilation systems were not good enough to cope with the risk of COVID, which contributed to the spread of the virus within the NHS.

It would seem this is not just a challenge associated with the UK, but an issue globally. In fact, in March this year the World Health Organization raised the same issue when it published its own roadmap to improve and ensure good indoor ventilation in the context of COVID-19. The roadmap aims to define the key questions users should consider in order to assess indoor ventilation and the major steps needed to reach recommended ventilation levels or simply improve indoor air quality (IAQ) in order to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19. 

Such documents are welcome and clearly much needed, but they typically overlook the powerful and effective role of ultraviolet air purification solutions, which have been proven in several settings to kill airborne pathogens and eliminate airborne infection of several viruses. Could UV light air purifiers be the solution hospitals need to improve indoor ventilation?

How can UV air purifiers help hospital ventilation strategies?

An effective hospital infection control programme includes several mitigation strategies, including improvements to existing building ventilation to reduce the spread and exposure to airborne pathogens, physical distancing, face masks, good hand hygiene and of course specifically in relation to coronavirus; vaccination. 

However, by installing an effective air purification device within wards, corridors and high-traffic areas, hospitals can create a second line of defence against coronavirus and other typical airborne viruses such as influenza, MRSA, norovirus and more.

UV light has been proven to kill germs such as viruses and bacteria through damaging molecules like nucleic acids and proteins. This makes the germ incapable of performing the processes that it needs to survive.

Mode of operation

Solutions such as Medixair reduce the risk of airborne viral transmission by providing 24-hour airborne infection control, which has been medically proven when deployed within confined indoor settings, especially those with poor ventilation and high room temperatures during winter months such as treatment and consulting rooms where close contact is inevitable. The 110W unit employs high-intensity ultraviolet light to decontaminate the air within indoor environments. The machine is portable, is plug and play it works by drawing air into the unit and exposing it to UV light which is a proven method for killing bugs. The clean disinfected air is then re-circulated back into the room. This method actually kills the pathogen in the air, preventing transmission, rather than redirecting it outdoors. The amount of UV energy provided by medixair is by far the greatest of any portable machine on the market.

Researchers at the University of Milan identified the effectiveness of UV-C light against SARS-Cov-2 (the current strain causing the pandemic). The study, published in Nature in March 2021, discovered that a device with the power of Medixair (20mJ/cm2) would deliver complete inactivation of the virus.

Learn more about our Medixair unit here.