Open letter to the German political leaders

May 12, 2021 – 3 Min

We are concerned with the current approach to reducing Covid19 airborne transmission in Schools in Germany and urge you to follow the latest guidelines from the WHO regarding ventilation and where that is not possible, air purification.

Furthermore it is a worry that the standards set for some public tenders for air purification units are very poor and as a result schools are at risk of buying inappropriate devices.

We urge you to ensure that schools buy appropriate devices that will make a difference and reduce airborne transmission risk amongst pupils, teachers and staff. 

Case studies and scientific research show that Covid19 transmission occurs from inhalation of large particles and much smaller aerosols emitted by an infected person. The WHO and other health bodies state that the transmission risks from touching fomites (surfaces with virus droplets) is very low.

Wearing face masks and maintaining a “safe distance” are important strategies to prevent transmission through inhalation of large droplets. However, as demonstrated recently by leading global scientific experts at a De KNAW Academy webinar, it remains a challenge to stop inhalation of much smaller airborne aerosols that travel distances and remain suspended in the air for a long time, especially in poorly ventilated rooms.

The task is made more difficult by “super spreader” events where many people get infected by one person. This can be from asymptomatic people, who have very high viral loads in their body and have not been uncovered by testing, that cause “super shedding” of the virus to many others in high occupancy rooms. This is exactly the challenge faced by schools, as well as hospitals, gyms and care homes. 

The first step to prevent Covid19 aerosol transmission is to ensure there is the right ventilation in place to reduce the chance of any build-up of virus contaminated aerosols.

Where this is not possible, especially in the case of older buildings, then leading scientists and engineers, as well as the WHO and health agencies, all recommend the use of well-engineered portable air purifiers with HEPA filters that deliver hospital grade air quality.

A well-positioned high quality air purifier will remove viruses from the air (as well as bacteria, pollen mould and other particulates), significantly reducing the risk of Covid19 airborne transmission. This is a proven technology that has been used in the healthcare sector for decades to limit infection from airborne diseases.

Scientific advisors and expert ventilation professionals strongly advise that only well engineered portable air purifiers are used and that they must have been independently tested by recognised research laboratories to prove that the manufacturers claims are met. This is because there are numerous machines on the market that are poorly designed and make unsubstantiated claims. 

 Testing mobile air purifiers in a school classroom: Reducing the airborne transmission risk for SARS-CoV-2
The Dec. 2020 study by J. Curtiusa, M. Granzina, J. Schrod at the Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main on Testing mobile air purifiers in a school classroom: Reducing the airborne transmission risk for SARS-CoV-2
confirms exactly this: air purifiers potentially represent a well-suited measure to reduce the risks of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 substantially.

The new future is one where airborne disease needs to be managed with good airborne transmission risk mitigating policies. The technology is already here, and with the right understanding of how Covid is transmitted and the implementation of the correct strategies, we can all move on to returning to a more normal way of life. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that the right policies are introduced and the correct standards of ventilation and air purification are enforced, and that money is not wasted on deficient technologies that do not provide any safeguards (but lead to a false sense of security). 

Rensair is available to educate and train people to ensure good Covid airborne transmission risks are mitigated, as well as explain what minimum standards should be required in tender processes to ensure that only high quality air purifiers are installed. 

Yours sincerely

Rensair B.V.

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