AERosolisation And Transmission Of SARS-COV-2 in Healthcare Settings (AERATOR)
Sponsor: North Bristol NHS Trust
CI: Professor Nick Maskell
Approval Date: not available
Aerosol generation occurs when tiny droplets of liquid are suspended in the air. Aerosols can be generated during many medical procedures. Some procedures might produce more aerosols than others, and droplets of different sizes, but there is a lot of uncertainty about this at the moment. What is known is that aerosols can carry viruses, like coronavirus, which risks further infections if inhaled by healthcare staff or other patients. Due to this potential risk, many operations have been delayed or are being performed with extra equipment, greatly reducing the ability of the NHS to resume important services. The AERATOR study aims to rapidly study the amount and type of aerosol generated when medical procedures are performed, and how infectious this aerosol is. This will be performed using specialist equipment in operating theatres and wards to measure real-life aerosol generation. By using specialist equipment, only available at Bristol University, we can also investigate how long coronavirus survives in clinical environments. This vital information will show how best to organise operating theatres, medical procedures, out-patient clinics, wards and use of protective equipment, in order to protect patients and staff while maximising the ability of the NHS to resume life-saving work.
Potential aerosolisation of SARS-CoV-2 is of critical importance in healthcare settings. During medical care many procedures are performed that are potentially 'aerosol generating' - although the flux, dispersion, and spread of this aerosol is often unquantified or unknown. The aim of this study is to quantify the flux, concentration, size distribution, and persistence of aerosol generated by a set of clinical procedures (across 5 clinical specialties), and assess heterogeneity between operator, equipment, and room.
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