Is It Possible to Detect COVID-19 in the Air?

While there is no bulletproof way to detect airborne COVID-19 particles, environmental monitoring solutions may help to give you an idea.

We’ve seen no shortage of innovative solutions related to the pandemic the past year. From thermal cameras, to contract-tracing apps, to all kinds of back-to-work solutions. However, there is no magic meter that can detect COVID-19 particles in the air.

Despite this, it is possible to get some sort of idea of the air quality in relation to how much of the virus may be in the environment.

The COVID-19 virus travels via particles in the air that are expelled when people exhale. Another gas that is expelled when exhaling? Carbon dioxide (CO2).

By installing CO2 detectors, a business can get a rough idea of how effective its ventilation is. If CO2 levels remain low, it is likely that fresh air is flowing. If levels are high, you know it’s time to become concerned about shared air.

While this is by no means a bulletproof way to detect COVID-19 particles, it may be a solution worth mentioning to businesses such as restaurants and retail stores, which are desperate to remain open and attract customers.

A solution such as IPVideo Corp.’s Halo sensor monitors not only CO2, but also volatile organic compounds (VOC) and (nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and can integrate with HVAC systems utilizing BACNET to adjust fresh air flow.

“These are the challenges that people are facing,” says Frank Jacovino, vice president of product development and engineering at IPVideo Corp. “They’re looking at MERV-type filters and such and I think the market is starting to see the need for local monitoring within rooms to know what is the air quality that exists within a room and what is the most reasonable way to keep fresh air in the room, but also be economical same time.”

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About the Author


Steven A. Karantzoulidis is the Web Editor for Security Sales & Integration. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Communication and has a background in Film, A/V and Social Media.

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