There May Be CoV-2 Viral RNA in Your HVAC System


A recently published investigation titled: “Identification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in Healthcare Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Units”, with affiliation through the Biology and the Built Environment Center, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon (and others) has emerged which demonstrates the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA at multiple locations within mechanical AHUs, and more specifically, AHUs serving multiple floors of a hospital tower in which COVID-19 patients were housed. This is the first documented investigation of its kind (I have seen ) which strongly suggests that the filtration practices (in place) in highly filtered environments, such as healthcare, does not eliminate the passage of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA, and potentially SARS-CoV-2 viral particles, through HVAC systems and potentially back into the supply air. This investigation demonstrates the potential that air evacuated from building spaces containing infectious individuals may be recirculated and distributed to other building spaces. While little is known yet about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and more work is needed to further evaluate the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission via HVAC systems, these results are important within and outside of healthcare settings and may present a matter of some urgency for building operators of facilities that are not equipped with high-efficiency filtration.