The time has come to recognize airborne transmission of the COVID-19 disease (Report: Transmission Potential of SARS-CoV-2 in Viral Shedding Observed at the University of Nebraska Medical Center). Concern now revolves around the possibility that the virus can be circulated throughout a building or distributed in the air delivered by its HVAC system. To the best of my knowledge, HVAC technologies with validated claims to kill COVID-19 are not yet obtainable because until now the specific virus wasn’t available for research. Considering it can take more than a year to get a viral claim approved by regulatory agencies, what can be done immediately to proactively safeguard critical healthcare environments to help protect both patients and staff from possible airborne infection?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has enacted a “hierarchy-based” policy. This means if a company’s product has been found to be effective against harder-to-kill viruses, its “likely” to kill a virus like COVID-19. A product that is likely to provide the greatest protection to you from COVID-19 will have claims against at least one non-enveloped virus such as Norovirus, Feline Calicivirus, Poliovirus, Rhinovirus, or Reovirus. Once we have products available with “evidence based” test results our options will be more clearly defined, but this may take a while. It’s always best to use products that have been qualified for the specific viral pathogen of concern. Until then, the EPA says that if you cannot obtain those products, then use products that are effective at killing Human Coronavirus because it’s expected those products will also be effective against SARS-CoV-2.