Unsurprisingly, one of the most common topics if not the biggest topic being discussed globally today is the Covid-19 pandemic which has limited economic, social, religious, and political activities.
The pathogen responsible for this pandemic is known to be a mutated strain of the coronavirus. Everyone wants to be safe from this disease which has struck fear or caution in the hearts of people around the globe. This has given rise to diverse discussions centered on finding solutions to this pandemic.
Much of the solutions proffered to the public for safety are based on human conduct and behavior. We are told to wear face masks and hand gloves, maintain social distancing, and to report any suspected cases.
However, these solutions will not be enough. We need cures or vaccines and more effective ways to protect ourselves from this virus. It is in light of this discussion that Air Purifiers have been mentioned as equipment that may be able to protect us from the coronavirus.
What are Air Purifiers?
Air Purifiers are devices used in cleaning indoor air. They usually have filters that trap pollutants, ensuring the pollutants don’t get back into air circulation. In this way, they are said to protect Allergy sufferers and Asthma patients from Allergens and irritants.
There are several types of Air purifiers but for this topic, we will focus on the Air Purifiers with High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters which are believed to be the best for trapping pollutants, contaminants and unwanted particles that float in the air. Makers of Air Purifiers have often said that Air purifiers can protect you from pathogenic diseases.
They insist that HEPA filters have spaces small enough to trap pathogens which are usually bigger than the filter spaces. Some makers like the makers of the BlueAir HEPASilent Air Purifier have said that their Air Purifier has a clearance rate of 99.9%, capturing at least 99.9% of airborne particles down to 0.1 microns in size. This would imply that they can filter pathogens like the coronavirus which is about 0.12microns in size.
Another point that Air Purifier makers often make is that the coronavirus is carried by droplets which are often as big as 1micron, big enough for any air filter to filter the droplets entirely.
These arguments explain why there is a rush for Air Purifiers in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Are Air Purifiers an Effect safety measure against Coronavirus?
The main argument against Air Purifiers as safety devices against the coronavirus is that the virus is spread by droplets and is not airborne. It is not spread by air circulation. This means that the droplets could land on surfaces and come in contact with materials or body parts that would then expose an individual to the disease if the virus gets in that individual’s eyes, nose or mouth.
However, IQAir chief executive Jens Hammes is reported to have recently told tech site Gadgets 360 that their devices have suction mechanisms that help remove the droplets from a patient’s cough. If this is true, perhaps a powerful device working very fast to clean the air could be effective.
Another argument against the Air Purifiers is that Air Purifiers are designed to keep out bigger particles than the coronavirus. Most of the particles and pollutants are usually at 0.3microns and above. The HEPA filter has a limit of 0.1microns and the coronavirus size is said to be 0.1microns too. The margin is quite close and the effectiveness is debatable. However, James Dickerson, Consumer Report’s Chief Scientist assures that HEPA filters are very effective at catching coronavirus size particles as long as the particles get to the filter.
A third argument against the Air Purifiers working against the coronavirus is that most Air Purifiers at best trap particles and germs. They do not kill the germs. So, if the germs survive, there is a likelihood that some might escape back into the surrounding. It’s not a wise thing to have a container full of the virus around a residential building not to talk of within living quarters.
However, makers of the BlueAir HEPASilent claim that their technology combining electric charging with high air draft inactivates 99% of viruses and bacteria. This implies that there is a huge possibility this tech could inactivate the coronavirus if this is true. However, it remains a possibility until properly tested against the coronavirus.
Air Purifiers certainly give us hope that they could be a means of protecting ourselves against the coronavirus but at this time, these claims remain plausible theories until actually tested against the coronavirus.
We believe that Air Purifiers that could ensure that coronavirus size particles would be trapped while having some way of deactivating or rendering viruses and bacteria ineffective would be useful devices in fighting Covid-19. So, we recommend that if you are to buy Air Purifiers for the purpose of safety from the Coronavirus, the Air Purifier must have the following:
- HEPA filter that guarantees pathogens and particles as small as 0.95microns will be trapped.
- A mechanism for disinfecting the device or inactivating the bacteria or virus.
- A powerful suction force to suck up droplets quickly- James Dickerson, Consumer Report’s Chief Scientist assures that HEPA filters are very effective at catching coronavirus size particles as long as the particles get to the filter.
If all of these are guaranteed, then we believe that Air Purifiers would serve as protective devices against the coronavirus.