CSIO develops system to sanitise air flow ducts to counter airborne transmission of Covid-19

Vijay Mohan
Today News Online Service
Chandigarh, May 22

In the backdrop of increasing evidence of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via aerosols, the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) here has developed a disinfection system for air conditioning and ventilation ducts.

The ultraviolet (UV) light-based system can be used in auditoriums, large conference rooms, classrooms, malls, and other public places, which will provide a relatively safer environment for indoor activities during the current pandemic.

The UV deactivates over 99 per cent of viruses, bacteria, fungus, and other bio-aerosols using the appropriate dosages of light. The use of UV may also help in ameliorating the fungal infections being witnessed during the current wave of the pandemic.

It has been developed according to the requirements for deactivation of SARS CoV-2 virus contained in an aerosol with necessary ventilation measures, necessary safety and user guidelines, and tested bio-safety standards.

Airborne transmission is considered a major risk in indoor settings by international agencies as well as health authorities in several countries. Significantly, research by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and Institute of Microbial Technology last year had demonstrated experimentally that SARS-CoV-2 viral particles could be detected in the air even two hours after the exit of infected persons from a room and at distances much greater than a few meters.

Based on these studies and recognising the need for effective solutions of viral disinfection, the challenge was to develop an effective retro-fit device with high intensities to handle fast airflows that could be fitted with minimal intervention in air-ducts of existing HVAC systems used in indoor industrial and commercial environment. 

CSIO’s system has been tested for more than 99 per cent disinfection and could be used as a retrofit solution in air handling units of buildings and transport vehicles besides having other applications. The UV is energy efficient, improves airflow through coils, enhances indoor air quality, requires less maintenance, is easy to retrofit with any existing system having AHU ducts, and has a low initial setup cost. The system comes with commercialised standards and certifications. 

Prof S Anantha Ramakrishna, Director CSIO, said that this technology, developed by the Fabrionics Division lead by Dr Harry Garg, is available now for deployment throughout the country as the technology for its commercial production has been transferred to 28 companies located in different states. 

More UV-based sanitisation products are being developed by Dr Garg’s group for other situations. Installation of UV-based solutions may boost people’s confidence and facilitate return to workplaces, public transport, and educational institutions as and when appropriate guidelines are issued by the government, Prof Ramakrishna added.


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