This article aims to draw the attention of the scientific community towards the elevated risks of airborne transmission of diseases and the associated risks of epidemics or pandemics. The complexity of the problem and the need for multidisciplinary research is highlighted. The airborne route of transmission, i.e. the generation of pathogen laden droplets originating in the respiratory tract of an infected individual, the survivability of the pathogens, their dispersal indoors and their transfer to a healthy person are reviewed. The advantages and the drawbacks of air dilution, filtration, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), photocatalytic oxidation (PCO), plasmacluster ions and other technologies for air disinfection and purification from pathogens are analyzed with respect to currently used air distribution principles. The importance of indoor air characteristics, such as temperature, relative humidity and velocity for the efficiency of each method is analyzed, taking into consideration the nature of the pathogens themselves. The applicability of the methods to the different types of total volume air distribution used at present indoors, i.e. mixing, displacement and underfloor ventilation, as well as advanced air distribution techniques (such as personalized ventilation) is discussed.
- air cleaning
- air distribution