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SARS-CoV-2 has severely affected capacity in the National Health Service (NHS), and waiting lists are markedly increasing due to downtime of up to 50 min between patient consultations/procedures, to reduce the risk of infection. Ventilation accelerates this air cleaning, but retroactively installing built-in mechanical ventilation is often cost-prohibitive. We investigated the effect of using portable air cleaners (PAC), a low-energy and low-cost alternative, to reduce the concentration of aerosols in typical patient consultation/procedure environments. The experimental setup consisted of an aerosol generator, which mimicked the subject affected by SARS-CoV-19, and an aerosol detector, representing a subject who could potentially contract SARS-CoV-19. Experiments of aerosol dispersion and clearing were undertaken in situ in a variety of rooms with two different types of PAC in various combinations and positions. Correct use of PAC can reduce the clearance half-life of aerosols by 82% compared to the same indoor-environment without any ventilation, and at a broadly equivalent rate to built-in mechanical ventilation. In addition, the highest level of aerosol concentration measured when using PAC remains at least 46% lower than that when no mitigation is used, even if the PAC's operation is impeded due to placement under a table. The use of PAC leads to significant reductions in the level of aerosol concentration, associated with transmission of droplet-based airborne diseases. This could enable NHS departments to reduce the downtime between consultations/procedures
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