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Chemical structure of chlorhexidine

CHX-treated air filters tested in trains found to kill SARS-CoV-2 and other microbes

March 10, 2022
In both lab and real-world testing, chlorhexidine was an effective agent against many dangerous microbes that can circulate in public and health-care settings.
Amelia Williamson DeStefano, Group Editorial Director

The biocides chlorhexidine (CHX) gluconate and digluconate have been a familiar, if controversial, tool in dentistry for decades. Over the past two years of the pandemic, it’s been used as an oral rinse to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in both dental practices and hospitals. And now, in a study published March 9 in Scientific Reports, chlorhexidine digluconate has also been found to be an effective antimicrobial treatment for air filters.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed many issues with air recirculation in public settings, such as transportation, and increased the demand for new technologies to reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria. This study, conducted at the UK’s University of Birmingham, tested the efficacy of CHX-treated air filters both in the lab and the UK’s rail networks.

The treated filters were found to be durable and to maintain antimicrobial efficacy for the lifetime of the product’s use. The filters were “shown to kill pathogens, such as Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, and MRSA in under 15 min and to destroy SARS-CoV-2 viral particles in under 30 s following contact with the filter.”1

Read the full open-access study


  1. Watson R, Oldfield M, Bryant JA, et al. Efficacy of antimicrobial and anti-viral coated air filters to prevent the spread of airborne pathogens. Sci Rep. 2022;12(1):2803. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-06579-9
About the Author

Amelia Williamson DeStefano | Group Editorial Director

Amelia Williamson DeStefano, MA, is group editorial director of the Endeavor Business Media Dental Group, where she leads the publication of high-quality content that empowers oral-health professionals to advance patient well-being, succeed in business, and cultivate professional joy and fulfillment. She holds a master's in English Literature from the University of Tulsa and has worked in dental media since 2015.

Updated May 16, 2023