Can air purifiers eliminate the risk of Covid-19?Published on: 28 March 2022, 21:25 pm IST
The impact and risk of Covid-19 have been severe across the globe. The world has witnessed how fatal the airborne disease Covid-19 can be as it is not just outside but also lingering in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, spreading farther than 6 feet from its source. These indoor public spaces are high risk and should be avoided while the virus is still lurking. But ever since the caseload has been declining, indoor gatherings among families have increased, experts fear that these could further spark new outbreaks.
Can all air purifiers protect against the risk of Covid-19?
Along with masking, maintaining social distance, staying home when one is sick and reducing contacts, air purifiers act as an added layer of protection indoors against the risk of Covid-19. While there are several air purifiers to choose from, a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter is recommended for areas with low occupancy as the HEPA catches aerosols and nanoparticles down to 0.3 microns with a 99.97 percent efficacy. While the virus is smaller than 0.3 microns, it will attach itself to salts, proteins, and other material (in our saliva), which increases the overall particle size, making it easy to trap and filter out with a HEPA air purifier.
However, all HEPA air purifiers are not the same. If there is a patient at home with comorbidities, it is always advised to choose an air purifier with a H14 or a C-Type HEPA, which filters down to 0.1 micron with a 99.997 percent efficacy.
Is one air purifier enough to cut the risk of Covid-19?
Essentially, here in India, we need a HEPA air purifier to mitigate air pollution and Covid-19 risk. For best results, we should perhaps place the machine as close to the center of the room as possible. If the room has more than 2-3 occupants, we may need more than one air purifier. For a large number of family members, experts suggest exploring mechanical filtration and ventilation with a Treated Fresh Air Unit (TFA) – essentially a larger air purifier with a higher delivery rate of air.
There is a simple and cost-effective innovation using electrospun nanofiber filters that fit split ACs and convert them into an air purifier.
Does using an air purifier provide complete protection against Covid-19?
The bottom line is while our first lines of defense against viruses must be adhering to the government issued guidelines. An air purifier, on the other hand, helps filter airborne ultrafine particles, including viruses like Covid-19, thereby turning into a good part of a defense plan to help prevent virus transmission. Wearing a mask, washing hands and keeping safe distance still matters!