Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Can Valley Researchers Wipe Out COVID-19 on Mass Transit?
TLBBHMAP3-U010ALB5ANM-348f959abae2-512-300x300-1
By Jim Jakobs, Digital Producer
Published 4 years ago on
June 25, 2020

Share

Using smoke candles and viruses that infect bacteria (not humans), an experiment to stop COVID-19 with worldwide implications was staged on buses in Selma this week.

A team of researchers is using different approaches to stop and eliminate coronavirus on mass transit — and eventually office buildings with large HVAC systems.

“HVAC systems are likely to just redistribute the air and airborne virus throughout the entire cabin, risking the health of both drivers and passengers.” — Dr. Juris Grasis, assistant professor in molecular and cell biology at University of California, Merced

The study is primarily funded by the California State University Transportation Consortium. Fresno County Rural Transit and Clovis City Transit are providing the buses for the experiments.

“HVAC systems are likely to just redistribute the air and airborne virus throughout the entire cabin, risking the health of both drivers and passengers,” said Dr. Juris Grasis, assistant professor in molecular and cell biology at University of California, Merced.

He’s one of the lead researchers trying to find a way to stop COVID-19 spread on mass transit.

Water Vapor Simulates Airflow

Researchers flipped the switch on a water vapor generator to simulate the normal airflow from people breathing inside the bus Wednesday. In a few minutes, the bus was filled.

Moe Salem, chief technology officer for Air2O Cooling, tells GV Wire℠ the person most impacted is the bus driver. Just above the driver are several air vents that recirculate the cabin air next to the driver’s face the entire drive.

Non-Toxic Candle Smoke Simulates Sneezing, Coughing

Researchers used colored smoke pushed out of non-toxic candles to simulate the movement of the airflow and airborne contamination. The colored smoke demonstrated what happens when a passenger sneezes or coughs. In about six minutes, smoke blanketed the interior of the bus.

One of the non-toxic candles before it’s loaded into a machine to simulate sneezing and coughing. (GV Wire/Jim Jakobs)

Killing, Stopping COVID-19

The research team hopes to stop COVID-19 in several ways.  By creating positive air pressure inside the cabin, and using the following:

  • HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters;
  • concentrated UV exposure combined with charged carbon filters in the HVAC systems;
  • photocatalytic oxidation technology;
  • and surface antiviral agents.
Image of a high-efficiency particulate air filter
High-efficiency particulate air filter used to try to stop COVID-19. (GV Wire/ Jim Jakobs)

“As it gets into the HVAC system, we want to stop it from being spread throughout the bus,” Grasis said. “We’re going to use different types of charging devices to actually charge the water vapor that the virus could be on — and actually help bind and eliminate the virus in that HVAC system so it doesn’t go throughout the whole bus.

“We have done some experiments in the lab. We’ve tested copper solutions and that looks to work pretty well at killing viruses. We’re hoping to get these experiments done in the next month.”

Simulating Other Conditions

The team will later perform experiments under a variety of vehicle conditions, such as having the bus stationary and in motion, with the door and windows open and shut, and with HVAC in cooling and heating operations.

Bigger Than Buses

Dr. Aly Tawfik, associate professor of civil engineering in the Lyles College of Engineering at Fresno State, believes this study could have implications beyond mass transit.

“Results of this study could be significantly valuable and directly lead to improved protection of passengers and drivers on public transportation modes against all forms of air-borne viruses — both locally as well as across the entire globe,” said Tawfik.

Moses Stites, general manager of the Fresno County Rural Transit Agency says, “We plan to make this (research) public so that other companies can also use it and industries such as the school bus system, van operators, and state and national transit organizations as well.”

DON'T MISS

RIP, Basketball and Broadcasting Great, Supreme ‘Deadhead’ Bill Walton, 71

DON'T MISS

Bulldogs to Face UC Santa Barbara in NCAAs After Amazing MW Baseball Comeback

DON'T MISS

Newgarden Goes Back-to-Back at Indy 500 for Roger Penske’s Record-Extending 20th Win

DON'T MISS

Netanyahu Acknowledges ‘Tragic Mistake’ After Rafah Strike Kills Dozens of Palestinians

DON'T MISS

This Is the Rare Financial Merger That Will Help Working People and Small Business

DON'T MISS

Amal Clooney Is Among Legal Experts Who Recommended War Crimes Charges in Israel-Hamas War

DON'T MISS

Fresno Nears End of Truck Route Study. Residents & Businesses Aren’t Sure of the Impacts.

DON'T MISS

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

DON'T MISS

Top Russian Military Officials Are Being Arrested. Why Is It Happening?

DON'T MISS

Delta Tunnel Water Project May Finally Be Nearing a Historic Decision

UP NEXT

Amal Clooney Is Among Legal Experts Who Recommended War Crimes Charges in Israel-Hamas War

UP NEXT

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

UP NEXT

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

UP NEXT

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

UP NEXT

Newsom Promised 1,200 Tiny Homes for Homeless Californians. How Many Are Being Used?

UP NEXT

UAW Files Objection to Mercedes Vote, Accuses Company of Intimidating Workers

UP NEXT

Fresno County Fruit Trail: Rewards You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

UP NEXT

Rising Stars Tigirlily Gold Wows the Crowd at 93.7 KISS Country Concert

UP NEXT

Get Ready for the Indy 500 With This Look at Parnelli Jones, JC Agajanian & the Willard Battery Special

UP NEXT

Plan Your Weekend With This Fresno Memorial Day Events List

Netanyahu Acknowledges ‘Tragic Mistake’ After Rafah Strike Kills Dozens of Palestinians

5 hours ago

This Is the Rare Financial Merger That Will Help Working People and Small Business

6 hours ago

Amal Clooney Is Among Legal Experts Who Recommended War Crimes Charges in Israel-Hamas War

6 hours ago

Fresno Nears End of Truck Route Study. Residents & Businesses Aren’t Sure of the Impacts.

7 hours ago

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

1 day ago

Top Russian Military Officials Are Being Arrested. Why Is It Happening?

1 day ago

Delta Tunnel Water Project May Finally Be Nearing a Historic Decision

1 day ago

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

2 days ago

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

2 days ago

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

2 days ago

RIP, Basketball and Broadcasting Great, Supreme ‘Deadhead’ Bill Walton, 71

Bill Walton, who starred for John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins before becoming a Hall of Famer for his NBA career and one of the biggest stars...

4 hours ago

4 hours ago

RIP, Basketball and Broadcasting Great, Supreme ‘Deadhead’ Bill Walton, 71

4 hours ago

Bulldogs to Face UC Santa Barbara in NCAAs After Amazing MW Baseball Comeback

5 hours ago

Newgarden Goes Back-to-Back at Indy 500 for Roger Penske’s Record-Extending 20th Win

5 hours ago

Netanyahu Acknowledges ‘Tragic Mistake’ After Rafah Strike Kills Dozens of Palestinians

Photo of person standing in front of a Capitol One building in San Francisco
6 hours ago

This Is the Rare Financial Merger That Will Help Working People and Small Business

6 hours ago

Amal Clooney Is Among Legal Experts Who Recommended War Crimes Charges in Israel-Hamas War

7 hours ago

Fresno Nears End of Truck Route Study. Residents & Businesses Aren’t Sure of the Impacts.

1 day ago

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend