Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the scientific community has been stressing the importance of social distancing, wearing masks, and becoming vaccinated against the virus. While these are, of course, important considerations, it has also been found that air purification is one additional way to further curtail the spread of the virus.
Because air purification for coronavirus has become such a hot topic in the past couple of years, several different types of air purifiers have been tested to determine their effectiveness in slowing the spread of COVID-19. There are a few different types of air purification systems that have been found to either remove most particles containing the coronavirus from the air and/or inactivate the virus.
Here’s a brief overview of some of the options for air purifiers that either kill COVID-19 or at least remove airborne particles from your home or office.
High-Efficiency Particular Air (HEPA) Filters
HEPA filters are one of the oldest forms of air purification systems and are widely used today for their effectiveness in removing allergens and contaminants from the air. These filters are comprised of several layers of randomly aligned fibers made from fiberglass or other synthetic materials.
As air is forced or drawn through the HEPA filter, hazardous particles are caught in the fibers, removing them from the air. These filters can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles at least 0.3 microns in size. This indicates that the filter should be highly effective at catching particles containing coronavirus, so long as they are passed through the filtration system.
A HEPA filter may come in the form of a standalone air purification unit, or the filters may be installed as part of an HVAC system. Regardless of the application, HEPA filters show evidence that they are effective at removing airborne particles containing coronavirus from the air. In fact, a study from the CDC found that unmasked participants saw their exposure to a simulated COVID infection decreased by up to 65% when a HEPA filtering system was placed in the center of the room. HEPA filters are often also incorporated into other air purification systems that take steps to catch and inactivate viruses.
HEPA filters as a stand-alone combatant against airborne coronavirus particles are effective at removing the particles from the air, but it should be noted that these particles are still caught in the filters which then have to be changed, potentially exposing the changer to the infectious particles.
UVC Air Purification
Another popular type of air purifier for coronavirus utilizes ultraviolet-C (UVC) light to inactivate coronavirus particles. UVC lamps are generally placed in HVAC ducts in industrial settings and are incorporated into some standalone portable air purifiers that can be placed in your home.
When viruses are exposed to UVC, the light breaks down the DNA to inactivate the virus. While there is little published literature on its effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), a study published by Cambridge University Press came to this conclusion based on its findings:
“In this study, viable virus was detected in the control runs without UV-C light activation or HEPA filtration. Using an UV-C light system with and without HEPA filtration eliminated SARS-CoV-2.”
This indicates that whether a HEPA filter was used or not, UV-C showed effectiveness in deactivating the coronavirus. This is preferable to simply catching an active virus in a filter that will need to be handled at some point when it needs to be changed.
It should be noted that UVC does come with some risks, so if this method of air purification is used, caution must be taken. Direct exposure to UVC can cause severe skin burns and eye injuries. Self-contained air purifiers with UVC will have safety measures built-in, but UVC lamps should be handled with particular care to avoid direct or prolonged exposure.
Air Purification Through Denaturation
Denaturation is a new innovation in air purification technology. The patent-pending system from Dusmit completely neutralizes hazardous airborne particles through the properties of thermodynamics.
This type of air purifier applies an extreme and abrupt change to both the temperature and air pressure in the system. This sudden shock causes the intramolecular bonds of any micro-organism to break apart. As the bonds break, the molecule unfolds and is denatured, which results in complete neutralization.
As the denaturation process is effective against all micro-organisms, these are proven to be air purifiers that kill coronavirus. The Dusmit air purifying system was tested against coronavirus and the experiment [link to the Dusmit report] proved the system’s effectiveness against this type of virus.
While other air purification systems have shown to have degrees of success against coronavirus and other hazardous particles, the denaturation air purification system is the only one proven to be 100% effective. This type of system holds an advantage over UVC air purification, as it doesn’t carry the health risks of UVC lamps. And, while HEPA filters alone are highly effective at removing coronavirus from the air, they do not neutralize the particles but merely collect them – a drawback that does not apply to denaturation air purification systems.
Air Purifiers Can Help Fight the Spread of Coronavirus
Whether you use HEPA, UVC, or denaturation air purifiers, keeping the air in your work or living space free of hazardous airborne particles is important. This has become most critical over the past two years with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, as air purification can help curtail the spread of the highly contagious illness.
When weighing your options for air purifiers to combat the spread of coronavirus, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each type of system. HEPA systems remove particles from the air but do not render viruses inactive. UVC has shown promise in neutralizing the virus, but UVC light carries some health risks. Denaturation is still a very new technology, but has shown to be completely safe and has been proven to completely neutralize the coronavirus.
There are bound to be new future technologies as the current health landscape has pushed the need for air purification to another level. For now, though, these three strong options remain your best bet for a virus-free environment.