in

A group of experts calls for improving ventilation regulation to combat airborne diseases

An international group of 40 specialists in virology, medicine, aerosols, air quality and ventilation from 14 countries signs an article in the journal Science in which they call for improving the regulation of ventilation to combat airborne diseases such as covid- 19. The signatories request that norms be changed or elaborated to regulate ventilation on the same scale in which others were applied in the 19th and 20th centuries to eliminate pathogens from drinking water and to avoid infections in food.

The signatories of an article in Science ask that norms be changed or elaborated to regulate ventilation on the same scale in which they were applied in the 19th and 20th centuries to eliminate pathogens from drinking water and to avoid infections in food

The text is led by the scientist Lidia morawska from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, and has the participation of two Spanish researchers, Xavier Querol, from the Institute for Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies of the CSIC (IDAEA-CSIC), and José Luis Jiménez from the University of Colorado (USA). ).

The signatories call for a “paradigm shift” in the fight against airborne pathogens, demanding universal recognition that infections can be prevented by improving indoor ventilation systems.

“For more than a year we have been jointly alerting to the importance of the airborne transmission of covid-19 in indoor spaces, we have made guides to ventilate schools and we have been advised in other environments. Now in Spain it is necessary to apply mandatory standards and certifications in this regard for offices, restaurants, shows and public transport, among other environments ”, indicates the professor Xavier Querol, of the IDAEA-CSIC.

In March and June 2020, this international scientific team asked the World Health Organization to recognize the need to control the risk of airborne transmission of respiratory infections. Also in 2020 the same group published an article in Environment International with recommendations to reduce the risk of airborne transmission of covid-19.

Improve ventilation standards

The team calls for mandatory building ventilation standards to include increased airflow, filtration rates, and monitors that allow the public to observe air quality in shared indoor spaces.

According to the researchers, given the evidence that airborne transmission spreads infections, there should be national and international ventilation standards to control pathogens.

The team calls for mandatory building ventilation standards to include increased airflow, filtration rates, and monitors that allow the public to observe air quality in shared indoor spaces.

Most minimum ventilation standards outside of specialized healthcare and research facilities only control odor, CO2 levels, temperature, and humidity.

Morawska states that ventilation systems “must also be controlled according to demand to adapt to the different occupations of the interior spaces and the different activities and respiratory rhythms, such as exercising in a gym or sitting in a movie theater.”

“This does not mean that every indoor space should be turned into a biosafety facility, but a building should be designed and operated in accordance with its purpose and the activities that take place there, so that the risk of airborne infections is keep it below an acceptable level ”, clarifies the researcher.

For its part, Jose Luis Jimenez recalls that a similar appeal about the importance of ventilation was already published in Science in 1945 by the professor of Harvad William Wells: “Two decades later, Wells succeeded in showing that tuberculosis is transmitted through the air, breaking the dogma that no disease is spread that way. But it was not listened to, and the regulations and ventilation systems in almost all countries remain insufficient to prevent infections, which has helped a lot to spread the covid-19 pandemic ”.

While a detailed economic analysis has yet to be performed, Morawska notes that the estimates “suggest that the necessary investments in building systems could be less than 1% of construction cost than a standard building, and much greater savings can be obtained by reducing the social costs of infections ”.

Reference:

Morawska L., Allen J., Bahnfleth W., et al. “Prevention of community respiratory infection transmission: a new era must start now”. Science, 2021.

Rights: Creative Commons.

The Long Halloween, Part One

It is not an error! Amazon offers a ridiculous discount on these ‘top’ wireless headphones from Sony