A team of researchers at the University of Minnesota recently concluded analysis of preliminary data on the effectiveness of electrostatic particle ionization (EPI) technology on decreasing artificial infectious aerosols.

The research team included Carmen Alonso, DVM, Montse Torremorell, DVM and Peter Davies, DVM, College of Veterinary Medicine; and Pete Raynor, School of Public Health.

Specifically, the objectives of the study were to determine the impact of the EPI Air on particle-size distribution and quantity of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus.

In the study, EPI Air was installed at three different levels — 1, 2 and 3 meters (1 meter equals 3.3 ft.) — from the ground along the length of an isolation unit at the University of Minnesota.

Air samples were collected with the EPI Air on and off for 30 minutes, and analyzed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for PRRS.

 

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A total of 144 air samples was analyzed in the study. Results indicated a decrease in the total number of viral particles from the air when the EPI Air was on.

“Removal efficiency was significant for some ranges of particle sizes analyzed, and efficiency also varied with distance of the EPI lines from the ground,” the researchers said.

In conclusion, “the results of this study indicated the potential of the EPI system in reducing the amount of viral particles from the treated air under the experimental conditions, being this reduction was significantly higher for the largest particles.”

Distance to the source of ions also played a role in the virus removal efficiency of the system.

The researchers suggested further studies are needed to demonstrate whether EPI Air is effective at reducing virus particles generated by infected pigs.

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