Study in primary schools and nursing homes on effectiveness of ventilation and air cleaning to reduce spread of SARS-CoV-2

CLAIRE collaboration investigates what ventilation systems and air purifiers should comply with to prevent corona infections

Ventilation and air purification can help reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus through the air in buildings. But what should these ventilation systems and air purifiers comply with to minimise spread? A collaboration of 20 partners will test the effectiveness of different systems. Utrecht University is coordinating the collaboration in which sixteen companies and other partners are participating in addition to three other knowledge institutes (TU Eindhoven, TNO and Leiden University).

Professor Lidwien Smit coordinates the partnership on behalf of Utrecht University. Despite the fact that the corona pandemic seems to be declining at the moment, Smit sees the relevance of the research for society. 'More knowledge on effective air purification is not only of great importance for the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses, but also for preparing for future pandemics and for improving indoor climate in general.’

More knowledge on air purification is vital in preparing for possible future pandemics

Lidwien Smit, Professor of One Health and Environmental Epidemiology

Primary schools and nursing homes

'The research is taking place in primary schools and nursing homes,' Smit says. 'Besides the architectural, technological and virological aspects, we also investigate whether the systems are acceptable and usable for users. We provide a scientific basis to evaluate ventilation systems and air cleaning equipment.' The scientists examine the performance of air purifiers and ventilation systems while measuring aerosols and SARS-CoV-2 virus and other microorganisms in the air. The researchers are also focusing on recent developments in mobile air purification devices, for which they are developing new evaluation and validation methods.

Collaboration between twenty partners

The collaboration is called CLAIRE: Clean Air for Everyone. Utrecht University coordinates the collaboration, for which 2.8 million euros have been made available by Health~Holland. Sixteen companies and other organisations participate in the consortium in addition to the four knowledge institutes: PlasmaMade, Dolphin Air, Euromate, Noa Air, Ultrasun, Wolf, Konvektco (Jaga), AL-KO, Fellowes, TROX, Dehaco, Trotec, Vereniging Binnenklimaat Nederland, Habion, Actiz and Stichting Binnenklimaattechniek.

Professor Lidwien Smit coordinates the partnership. She works at IRAS, the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences at Utrecht University and Utrecht University Medical Centre.

The cooperation project was co-financed with PPP allowance made available by Health~Holland, Top Sector Life Sciences & Health, to stimulate public-private partnerships.