Advertisement

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

UBC Okanagan and a Kelowna-based tech company have created a new health machine helps mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
UBC Okanagan and a Kelowna-based tech company have created a new health machine helps mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Dan Couch / Global News

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.

Read more: UBC Okanagan announces new wine research centre headquarters

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.

Story continues below advertisement

“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.”

Read more: UBCO researcher conducts study to challenge notion of mean teens

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.”

Read more: UBC Okanagan developing eco-friendly electric vehicle charging stations

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.

Story continues below advertisement
13 COVID-19 cases now linked to private parties in Kelowna involving tourists.
13 COVID-19 cases now linked to private parties in Kelowna involving tourists.