Cold plasma to sanitize common facilities? The University of Bologna announced this new creation to reduce COVID-19 infections

The University of Bologna designed a device that sanitizes the air with cold plasma. Researchers from Alma Mater are designing a device that can significantly reduce the probability of COVID-19 transmission in indoor environments.

The name leaves no doubt (“Viki”, from “Virus killer”) and its objective of this new device is to reduce the probability of transmission of coronavirus infection in a closed environment: it is the device that a research group at the University of Bologna is developing to sanitize the air using “cold plasma” technology in schools, public offices, hospitals, dental offices and commercial activities.

COVID-19, A DEVICE THAT USES COLD PLASMA: VIKI INACTIVE 99.9% OF BACTERIA IN BIOAEROSOL

“Viki” works by inactivating the droplets suspended in the air and contaminated by Sars-Cov-2: a prototype already developed is “able to inactivate 99.9% of the bacteria contained in the bioaerosol in just 0.3 seconds”, makes the Alma Mater with a note.

“A first study, which researchers published in the ‘Special issue on advanced applications of plasma in life sciences’ of the journal Plasma Processes and Polymers– reports the University- highlights that results of total inactivation are also available for bioaerosol with purified Rna of Sars-Cov-2. These are the first results obtained so far on this issue at the international level”.

The project, funded by the Emilia-Romagna Region, is led by the Interdepartmental Centre for Industrial Research of the University of Bologna, which operates in the fields of advanced mechanics and materials (Ciri-Mam) through the research group for industrial applications of plasma coordinated by Vittorio Colombo.

The group of Vittorio Sambri, director of the Microbiology Unit of Ausl Romagna and member of the Department of Specialist, Diagnostic and Experimental Medicine of the University of Bologna, also collaborates.

Besides the Alma Mater scholars, several companies are at work (Alintel, AlmaPlasma, Glip, RubensLuciano, Iso Engineering), with the aim of achieving a first pilot production of Viki by the first half of 2021.

COVID-19, SANITIZATION WITH COLD PLASMA: OBJECTIVE TO REDUCE CONTAGION IN INDOOR FACILITIES

“We want to create a device able to significantly reduce the probability of coronavirus transmission in indoor facilities intended for work or service activities”, explains Colombo: “The results of this project will make possible the development on an industrial scale of a range of products to be used in schools, public offices, hospitals, dental surgeries and commercial activities”.

The device, explains the University, acts by sucking air from the environment in which it is located and treating it through discharges of cold plasma.

This is produced by applying an electric field to a flow of contaminated air and bioaerosol, thus generating a series of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species capable of destroying microorganisms, including viruses.

“The first tests with the vital virus are scheduled at Ausl Romagna, in Pievesestina, by the end of September: we believe – continues Colombo – that the interaction of plasma directly with the coronavirus Sars-Cov-2 can induce destabilization of its structure and therefore a reduction, until its total disappearance, of its infectious capacity”.

The objective, concludes the University, “is to reach a sanitizing capacity greater than 99.9% and then move on to the scale-up phase of the prototype to adapt it to future industrialization as a product”.

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