Simply scientifico: Air filtration systems no good to avoid viral entry

Studies were conducted in real-world settings to reach the conclusion of ineffective results of air filtration systems in preventing the entry of viruses in nasal or buccal cavities.
Image used for representational purposes.
Image used for representational purposes.

ALMOST HUMAN: AIR FILTRATION SYSTEMS NO GOOD TO AVOID VIRAL ENTRY

In a corrective scientific step that could prevent people from falling for using systems to avoid viral infections, a study has convincingly revealed that air filtration systems do not reduce the risk of contracting such infections. To reach this conclusion, researchers from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, studied various technologies like air filtration, germicidal lights and ionizers. These were popularised for use in various countries during the recent Covid-19 pandemic in the hope of preventing infection from the various variants of the dreaded SARS-CoV-2 virus that claimed the lives of an estimated 30 lakh people globally. The researchers looked at all available evidence but found little to support hopes that these technologies can make air safe from viruses causing respiratory or gastrointestinal infections. The main focus of the study was to establish whether air cleaning technologies can make people safer from catching airborne respiratory or gastrointestinal infections. The researchers studied evidence of microbial infections, and even symptoms, in people exposed (compared to those not exposed) to air treatment technologies in 32 studies. These studies were conducted in real-world settings like schools and care homes to reach the conclusion of ineffective results of these air filtration systems in preventing entry of viruses in nasal or buccal cavities. The researchers screened every technology, not just filtration, germicidal lights or ionizers, but also other methods that could safely prevent viral entry into the body to conclude that they were not effective in blocking them. 

BEHIND THE SCIENCE: TERRIBLE LIZARD

A great epochal event in the history of science in general, and paleontology and zoology in particular occurred in 1841. The individual who made this happen was Sir Richard Owen, a foremost evolutionary biologist and anatomist of his time. Owen, who was then the first director of the Natural History Museum, coined the term ‘Dinosauria’ — the origin of the word dinosaur, lending a fresh taxonomy to the prehistoric creatures. The word ‘dinosaur’ is from the Greek deinos (terrible) and sauros (lizard). He published the first important general account of the great group of Mesozoic land-reptiles, using three genera to define the dinosaurs -- carnivorous Megalosaurus, herbivorous Iguanodon, and armoured Hylaeosaurus.

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