The covid – 19 pandemic has affected millions of lives worldwide. Every single person in the world has suffered its blow in one way or another. Governments across the globe have provided certain guidelines as to wear masks, maintain social distancing, to name a few. But the question is – Is it enough to stop the spread of Covid -19? Does this ensure that the indoor air environments are “a safe place to be” for people?
With the ongoing research to find ways to curb the spread of Covid-19, air purifiers have come up as a prospect. Are air purifiers effective against Covid-19 and other viruses likewise? To answer this, we need to give some thought to 2 things –
- How does the covid – 19 virus spread?
- How do the air purifiers work and where is the proof they work against Covid?
Let’s dive into it.
What is COVID – 19 and how does it spread?
In December 2019, a new virus called SARS CoV – 2 emerged leading to respiratory illness called COVID-19. Just like any other mucus-based virus, COVID – 19 can transmit through several means. Let’s dig more into the 3 major ways in which COVID – 19 can spread –
Close contact – The virus can easily spread through direct contact with the person infected with the virus or by touching an object or surface where the virus is already present. Directly touching such surfaces and touching the mouth, nose or eyes can lead to direct transmission.
Short-range transmission – This kind of viral transmission spreads when an infected person comes in proximity of other people. The respiratory droplets produced by the infected person talking, coughing, and breathing are usually larger (> 5 microns size) compared to aerosols.
Long-range transmission – One of the most dangerous traits of the COVID – 19 is its long-range transmissibility through aerosols. When an infected person exhales, very tiny droplets of the virus (<= 5 microns size) are spread. These relatively lighter aerosols remain extended in the air for longer durations and can travel with the air currents much further away from their source.
The first two can be taken care of by taking social distancing measures. But how to avoid long-range transmission?
One common opinion is that the usage of air filters can be helpful in battling it.
This might be the case, but to really answer this question, we need to understand how air filters work and whether there is evidence of their effectiveness against COVID – 19.
How do the air purifiers work?
In general air purifier has a fan that pulls the air from the room and forces it to pass through the different stages of filtration to remove dust, bacteria, and viruses. In general, HEPA Filters is used in an air purifier to remove airborne particles including bacteria and viruses. There are air purifiers based on other technology, but HEPA is one of the most safe and reliable technology and can be used when a person is around.
Recently, there has been research for HEPA filter effectiveness against Covid-19. In a recent study, it was exhibited that the temporary anterooms when combined with HEPA filters led to aerosol containment of nearly 99% which is outstanding performance . Another study focused on the effect of HEPA filters and masking to prevent exposure to simulated exhaled SARS-CoV-2 in indoor environments . Results showed that with just masking and no HEPA filter, the exposure to aerosols was reduced by 72%. But with the HEPA filters along with masking, the aerosol exposure reduction was up to 90% i.e. HEPA filters are seen as effective against SARs-CoV-2.
A study conducted at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge analyzed the effectiveness of High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration for covid-19 in real-life scenarios. The study showed that HEPA air filters removed SARS-CoV-2 including the infection-causing pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Escherichia coli .
Medical-grade HEPA filters can protect you from bacteria and viruses to a great extent. In conclusion, we can say that air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters are effective in combating Covid and other airborne diseases. HEPA filter with a rating of 13 or above is generally used in this study.
Eco-1000 from Ecoshield Tech is a super-effective portable air purifier with medically graded HEPA FILTER (HEPA-13) and UVC light.