Infection Risk Indicator
Research

Infection Risk Indicator

Learn more about how BAIOTEQ's infection risk indicator can predict health risks.

BAIOTEQ R&D

September 26, 2021

September 27, 2021

Introduction

The coronavirus pandemic, also known as COVID-19, has profoundly altered our daily lives. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, humans spent more than 90% of their time indoors. As a result of COVID-19, people have started spending significantly more time than before in order to limit the spread of infection. The problem is that when it comes to air quality, indoor air is often two to five times worse than outside air.  A large percentage of the population has no idea that the air they breathe inside is frequently more polluted than the air they breathe outdoors. This is a cause of concern since our homes and offices are meant to be the safest places for us. Poor air quality is responsible for the premature deaths of approximately 4.2 million people worldwide[1]. According to research, air quality is also significantly correlated with employee performance [2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Several reports have also shown children in classrooms with varying levels of air quality showed significant and quantifiable differences. One of the more recent studies shows that people in communal spaces face substantial COVID-19 risk, which building owners, managers, and consultants must address this as early as possible. COVID-19, along with other infection causing viruses, has been directly linked to poor air quality, according to research.

In 2020, BAIOTEQ created the revolutionary 8 stage biosecurity framework for healthy buildings. This biosecurity framework was based on the last 50 years of medical research and was made possible by the support of the National Research of Canada, Dalhousie University and the University of New Brunswick. In early 2021, we invested significant resources to make a AI driven version of our biosecurity framework that was more accessible. Now we're excited to share the launch of the Infection Risk Indicator.

By leveraging air quality data, BAIOTEQ's Infection Risk Indicator can predict the probability of an infectious disease outbreak in your space. The Infection Risk Indicator is powered by a proprietary algorithm that considers CO2, PM2.5, Temperature and Humidity. These 4 air quality parameters have the highest correlation to virus transmission.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Due to the fact that individuals infected with any airborne disease (including COVID-19) exhale contaminated particles into the air, knowing when "a few people" becomes "too many" reduces the chance of infection for everyone else present in the room.

In addition to lowering CO2 levels, efficient air circulation may also assist building managers in determining how effectively air is moving in various areas of the structure [6.] Do these methods, however, really help to decrease the transmissibility of a virus that is transmitted via the air?

Last year, a university in Taipei reported a Tuberculosis outbreak. Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria, but it is also transmitted from person to person via contaminated droplets from coughing or sneezing. [7] Buildings on campus were inadequately ventilated, according to measured CO2 levels, with claimed CO2 values of more than 3000ppm. However, when engineers reduced CO2 levels to 600ppm, the outbreak was officially ceased. [8]

Particulate Matter (PM2.5)

As a transport vector in many circumstances, airborne particulate matter, particularly PM2.5, can allow the spread of viruses over distances higher than the 'safe' social distance necessary. In addition, PM2.5 promotes inflammation in lung cells, making infected patients more vulnerable to and experiencing more severe symptoms. An 8 percent rise in the mortality rate with COVID-19 has been reported by Harvard research using PM2.5 concentrations of 0.1 ug/m3. New infectious viruses have been shown to cause an inflammatory storm that lasts longer if they are exposed to polluting agents before getting sick [14].

Despite the fact that construction and vehicle traffic are the primary sources of PM2.5, there is a clear link between inadequate ventilation systems in buildings and poor interior air quality, especially in densely populated areas. While air quality has improved dramatically in recent years in many places, officials have warned that fulfilling WHO air quality criteria by 2030 will be challenging without more financing and other compliance measures [15]. These circumstances see poor outdoor air quality carry over indoors, where increased PM2.5 levels raise the possibility of infectious disease transmission. Localized outdoor PM2.5 levels can be used to create baseline conditions and to decide whether or not to monitor interior PM2.5 levels in the event that the levels become hazardous.

Temperature and Humidity

Temperature and humidity are just as significant as CO2 & PM2.5 when it comes to evaluating how hazardous a building, room, or place is due to the number of occupants in that space. A Yale University publication [9] looked at these impacts and discovered that relative humidity drops to around 20% when dry cold air is piped inside and due to the evaporation of big virus droplets in this environment, smaller droplets cling to surfaces for extended periods of time, contaminating them for longer. This makes us more susceptible to infection as our cilia (the hairs that line our airways) do not work as effectively under dry circumstances, reducing their capacity to expel viruses [10].

Most infection-causing viruses like COVID-19 flourish in winter's dry air, while they are unable to live in large numbers in a moister environment. Many experts at Harvard Medical School, have shown a direct link between the prevalence of infection in patient rooms and humidity. In fact, several studies have found that humidity levels between 40% and 60% are optimum for reducing the incidence of COVID-19.

Conclusion

As far as dealing with viruses is concerned, it is always preferable to minimize the risks involved. The air quality thresholds in our proprietary algorithm for the Infection Risk Indicator are different from the default air quality standards issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The thresholds in our infection RIsk Indicator are derived from scientific studies done by governments, scientists, and institutions, and are based on particular conditions that are favourable for viruses to survive.  When compared to the air quality safety criteria established by the organizations listed above, our thresholds are tailored to highlight the risk of virus transmissions. Moreover our algorithm is also compatible with popular databases like LEED, and allows to estimate risk based on the existing scorecards.

Taking good care of indoor air quality and ensuring that it is at appropriate levels reduces virus transmission and aids in the maintenance of a healthy immune system. BAIOTEQ's Infection Risk Indicator empowers us to make informed decisions about our health and fight the invisible threats to our wellbeing. Now that we are accustomed to living in the new normal and spending more of our time inside, understanding our indoor air and how it impacts our immune system is more essential than ever to our well-being. The BAIOTEQ Infection Risk Indicator can enable early preventive measures required to maintain a healthy indoor environment, whether at home or at the workplace. Maintaining the health of the environment in which we work and live, through maintaining good air quality, is important for more than simply our personal benefit; it is also important for the sake of saving lives.

The launch of the Infection Risk Indicator will not only make our technology more accessible but it is also a major step towards our vision of creating a world without outbreaks- a world where we and our loved ones thrive with optimal health.

References

Primarily based on our 8 Stage Biosecurity Framework: https://www.baioteq.com/research/the-science-behind-baioteq

[1] https://www.who.int/airpollution/ambient/health-impacts/en/

[2] https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/why-covid-19-raises-the-stakes-for-building-health

[3] https://www.edworkingpapers.com/ai20-188

[4] http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/publications/pdf/FSEC-PF-396-06.pdf

[5] https://www.enr.com/articles/50017-fresh-air-and-daylight-the-importance-of-healthy-buildings-in-a-pandemic?oly_enc_id=4191D2336267J3Y

[6] https://www.rehva.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/REHVA_COVID-19_guidance_document_V3_03082020.pdf

[7] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tuberculosis

[8] https://theconversation.com/how-to-use-ventilation-and-air-filtration-to-prevent-the-spread-of-coronavirus-indoors-143732.

[9] https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-virology-012420-022445

[10] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-humidity-may-affect-covid-19-outcome#How-dry-air-affects-immunity,-viral-spread

[11] https://www.fastcompany.com/90515931/theres-a-key-way-to-curb-the-spread-of-covid-19-but-no-one-is-talking-about-it

[12] https://www.isiaq.org/docs/Papers/Paper340.pdf

[13] https://www.ashrae.org/file%20library/technical%20resources/covid-19/56-1.pdf

[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7345938/

[15] https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/pm2.5_in_london_october19.pdf

[16] https://www.epa.gov/scram/air-quality-dispersion-modeling

[17] https://mazamascience.github.io/AirSensor/

[18] https://towardsdatascience.com/australian-wildfires-increased-ambient-air-pollution-ddec47b0b5f8

[19] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0198971518304447

[20] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0269749118307681

Disclaimer

Our goal is to help you understand how favorable your space is for infectious viruses to survive. This information will help you understand how the air quality impacts your health and immune system. Our system is not designed, and should not be used, for the purpose of identifying the presence of any type of virus or bacteria. Under no circumstance shall we have any liability to you or any third parties for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use and/or reliance on the information. Your use and/or reliance on the information is solely at your own risk.


Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Healthy Buildings, Biosecurity, AI, IoT, Public Health, Anti-Aging.