The Biosafety unit has biocontainment facilities to investigate the ability of organisms to remain infectious whilst in an aerosol state. These facilities allow us to investigate the aerosol stability of organisms such as MRSA, influenza and Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a controlled environment.
A Goldberg drum is a rotating aluminium cylinder with a system of internal baffles. The rotation of the drum and the internal baffles maintains aerosolised organisms in an aerosol state preventing particle drop out. Samples are taken at various time points to determine the rate of aerosolised particle survival for a given microorganisms . Experiments can run at different humidity ranges to allow investigations into the effect of relative humidity on aerosol survival.
This area of work is important as it allows us to investigate the role of air transmission for novel strains of pathogenic organism. We can then incorporate results into mathematical models of infection spread in settings like hospitals and care homes.
Last reviewed: 25 October 2010