Viruses in the Air

When someone sneezes, a potent mixture of particles containing bacteria, viruses, allergens are released in a suspension called bioaerosols (biological aerosols). This is one-way airborne pathogens (such as Coronavirus) spread from human to human and cause subsequent infections. 

It is commonly accepted that if someone sneezes or coughs near to you, you’re best to cover your face to avoid contamination - however, should we be doing more?

Ultraviolet light at a specific germicidal wavelength is proven to kill every virus ever tested against including past strains of Coronavirus.  The Sterillo UNO was specifically designed to use this established technology to kill virus’ and bacteria suspended in the air we breath indoors.

Recent studies have shown that these aerosols can survive for hours in the air. One particular study (Yang et al 2011) found Influenza A viruses remained suspended in the air for hours in adequate quantities to induce infection. This method of transmission is less well characterised, and thus remains controversial. Other studies have also shown that these tiny aerosols once airborne, can be carried over large distances - creating potential for long-range infections (Tellier, 2006)

It is not just coughing and sneezing that is responsible for producing these aerosols. Studies show that even normal breathing produces these particles, generated from the lower respiratory tract (Edwards et al., 2004). These aerosols ability to cause infection are dependent upon several factors such as temperature, humidity and time spent in the environment (Knight, 1980)

In areas with good ventilation it is unlikely that long range transmission will occur, however, in contained areas such as public transport systems, it is very likely that this is a prolific mode of infection (Tellier, 2009)

Further information about the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and FAQs about it is available here.


Tellier, R., 2009. Aerosol transmission of influenza A virus: a review of new studies. Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 6(suppl_6).

Edwards, D. A., Man, J. C., Brand, P., Katstra, J. P., Sommerer, K., Stone, H. A., Nardell, E. & Scheuch, G. 2004 Inhaling to mitigate exhaled bioaerosols. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 101, 17383–17388.  

Knight, V., 1980. VIRUSES AS AGENTS OF AIRBORNE CONTAGION. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 353(1), pp.147-156.

Tellier, R., 2006. Review of Aerosol Transmission of Influenza A Virus. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 12(11), pp.1657-1662.

Yang, W., Elankumaran, S. and Marr, L., 2011. Concentrations and size distributions of airborne influenza A viruses measured indoors at a health centre, a day-care centre and on aeroplanes. Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 8(61), pp.1176-1184.