Air filtration to prevent coronavirus: questions & answers
Coronavirus disease - called COVID-19 - is spreading very quickly all over the world and it is precisely to prevent contagion that various restrictive measures have been adopted in several countries. Each of us wonders what measures can be taken to limit the spread of the virus inside the closed places: Tama Aernova has been working in the field of air filtration for a very long time and, in order to clarify and to give citizens a correct information, in this article we answer some questions about the use of air filtration to prevent coronavirus.
1. Inside a building, can air filtration protect against coronavirus?
Air filtration, as well as ventilation and conditioning, can be part of a global risk mitigation approach. In particular, the reduction in exposure to the disease is given by the ability of some filters to remove particles of comparable size to those of coronaviruses (about 0.1 microns). In order to have an impact on the transmission of infectious diseases, the filters must be properly designed and installed and correctly inserted in the building.
2. Which filter should be used to protect the people inside a building from COVID-19?
Given the considerations, we can say that it is very unlikely that low-efficiency filters can make a difference. High-efficiency filters (HEPA, ULPA) and electrostatic filters, on the other hand, if correctly installed, can remove particles of comparable size to those of the virus. .
3. Why not simply install high efficiency filters?
High efficiency filters may be appropriate in some situations and contexts; however, in some cases they may even be counterproductive. A high efficiency filter can present a high initial pressure drop and load very quickly with dust and particles, requiring frequent changes of the filtration elements. Depending on the design of the system, a high efficiency filter can also reduce the total amount of air in the environment, causing problems for other parts of the plant (such as ventilation, air conditioning, etc).
4. Can portable air cleaners be a good solution?
Some of the benefits of using portable purifiers are easy maintenance, the speed of removal of filter elements, and the ability to equip the filter unit in a variety of ways. The effectiveness of filtration, however, is always linked to the type of technology used and the attention placed in the design details and not only (think also of aspects such as the efficiency and scope of the filter, sizing and positioning, maintenance and replacement of filter elements).
5. What precautions should be taken in carrying out maintenance/changing the filter elements?
In general, it is always wise to assume that filters contain active biological material and the precautionary principle suggests the utmost caution. This becomes particularly important in any building where there are known cases of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. The filters must be handled with the system turned off , wearing gloves and, if available, respiratory protection ; whenever possible it would be advisable to carry out the operation outdoors and the filters must be disposed of in a sealed bag.
6. Pollution: is it an aggravating factor?
Air filtration is in any case essential, especially considering some research carried out by the Società Italiana di Medicina Ambientale (SIMA, Italian Society of Environmental Medicine) on the relationship between the effect of air pollution and the spread of the new coronavirus. According to research the high rate of pollution in the Po Valley could have caused an acceleration in the spread of the virus, which in Northern Italy has hit harder than in the rest of the country. However, there are not enough data to support this theory. What is certain is that health also passes through the air we breathe.
Air filtration can be important to prevent coronavirus, but with the right precautions and as a part of a more composite preventive measure plan. Since there is no scientific evidence to demonstrate the effective benefit of using air filters against COVID-19 infection, it is important to follow the recommendations of experts and specialists. .
Our company proposes a high-efficiency collection solution using electrostatic technology, with an integrated system for periodically washing collection cells with a special mixture that can disable viruses. The filter will soon be available in stand-alone (portable vacuum) and plug-in versions (to be integrated with existing suction systems).
For any doubt, question or further information, please contact us: the Tama Aernova team is available to offer its expertise and experience.