This Invention Could Kill 99.8 Percent of COVID Particles in Your Home
Researchers built an air filter that wipes out the airborne virus immediately.
Fears are increasing about the likelihood of contracting coronavirus from particles floating in the air. Earlier this week, 239 scientists signed an open letter to the World Health Organization (WHO), pushing the agency to acknowledge the dangers of airborne transmission. Though WHO has responded to the letter by noting that there is "emerging evidence" of that possibility, until now, the widely accepted belief was that COVID-19 is almost always contracted after direct contact with infected respiratory droplets. If catching the virus from small particles that stay in the air is a significant danger, as many experts maintain, then social distancing measures aren't enough to stay safe indoors. So what is the solution? One group of researchers recently announced that they have developed an air filter that can kill 99.8 percent of coronavirus particles—and it may be on the market soon.
In response to evidence that central air conditioning systems can actually spread COVID-19, psychics researchers at the University of Houston tested a filter that uses heat to kill the virus and published their results in the journal Materials Today Physics. Aware that the virus can't survive above a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius (or 158 degrees Fahrenheit), scientists constructed a filter with nickel foam, which conducts electricity. By super-heating the virus to 200 degrees Celsius, they were able to almost completely eliminate it "with a single pass through." The filter is also useful against other infectious diseases, including some strains of the flu.
The filter is meant to be placed in existing heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, which would be more cost-effective for schools, hospitals, businesses, and even homes than replacing them completely. Zhifeng Ren, director of the university's Texas Center for Superconductivity and one of the researchers from the study, told The Houston Chronicle that the filter doesn't even add to a system's power consumption.
He also told the publication that the filter could be produced for practical use by as early as August. The researchers intend for high-traffic and high-risk areas such as schools and hospitals to be first in line to purchase, but the filters may be available to individual consumers after that. And as we learn more and more about airborne transmission, wiping out airborne particles in as many indoor areas as possible may be key to slowing the virus and returning to some semblance of normal life.
For more on killing COVID, This Is the "Goldilocks Zone" Where COVID Can't Survive, Biologist Says.