Coronavirus: UBC Okanagan teams up with Kelowna-based company for air-filtration machine

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Medical facilities around the world are learning to adapt to a new norm with the coronavirus pandemic.

One newfound difficulty is controlling air particles that are created by pressure, such as teeth cleaning at the dentist.

These air particles, also known as aerosols, are a major concern for medical facilities as they could spread COVID-19.

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UBC Okanagan researchers and Kelowna-based tech company Care Health Meditech have created a machine that isolates and eliminates airborne droplets and germs.

The Airborne Infection Isolation and Removal device (AIIR) was initially created for the dental industry to add an extra layer of protection against the coronavirus for patients and staff.

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“We’ve done a lot of research with UBC to create a collection dome,” Stephen Munro, Care Health Meditech’s managing partner, told Global News on Wednesday.

“What that does is it provides a nice area of low pressure (negative air pressure) around the patient and clinician.”

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The dome, in conjunction with the low air pressure, catches and sucks up the possible aerosols in the immediate area.

“The negative pressure intake draws these aerosols, which can contain a dangerous particle or pathogen, into the device,” said Munro.

“(The aerosols) are (then) filtered through a series of filters and UVC light before being safely exhausted back into the operatory.”

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The machine has been created for the dentistry industry and Munro says about 500 AIIR machines are being shipped around Canada and the US.

Munro says UBCO and Care Health Meditech are developing a second machine for general health facilities less focused on dental practices’ needs.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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