Characterization and fate of viral bioaerosols on filters of air handling units

Victor Bandaly, Aurélie Joubert, Pierre LE CANN, Yves ANDRES

One of the most important topics that occupy public health problems is the air quality. Among the existing aerosols in the indoor air, we can distinguish the bioaerosol with biological nature such as bacteria, viruses, fungi. Respiratory viral infections are one of the most important topics for public health in our century related to their high contagiousness. We spend about 90% of our time in closed environments such as homes, workplaces or transport. That is the reason why many buildings, especially office buildings, create an artificial climate using heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Some studies have shown that air handling units (AHU) contribute to the spread and transport of viral particles within buildings. The aim of this study is to characterize and to understand the fate of viral bioaerosols, using mengovirus RNA virus as a model, in indoor environments on glass fiber filter F7 used in AHU. In this study, a set-up close to reality of AHU system was used. The mengovirus aerosolized was characterized, measured with the Electrical Low Pressure Impact (ELPI) and detected with RT-qPCR. The results about quantification and the level of infectivity of mengovirus on the filter and in the biosampler showed that mengovirus can pass through the filter and remain infectious upstream and downstream the system. Regarding the virus effectiveness on the filter under a constant air flow, and mengovirus was remained infectious during 10 hours after aerosolization.

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