Are HEPA filters a good solution for coronavirus?

HEPA was originally developed for aerospace, but is now also used in air purifiers to filter pollution from the indoor air.

HEPA literally means: High Efficiency Particulate Air. HEPA are air filters that retain up to 99.95% of all particles (most penetrating particle size) of 0.1 micrometer (µm), depending on the specific filter type. A HEPA filter is specified in the European Union Standard 1822:2019 and can be found in different classifications

An H13 or H14 filter is usually recommended when purchasing dust extraction with HEPA filter and this is also what AIR8 offers in its solutions.

How does a HEPA air purifier work?


HEPA air purifiers are very effective when it comes to removing harmful particles, e.g. viruses, bacteria, pollen and dust from the air and they can be used to significantly improve indoor air quality. They use fans to set the air in motion and bring it into the device. Once inside, the air passes through a filter where it is purified before being released back into the room. The size of particles that can be removed depends on the type of the HEPA filter used in the air purifier.

The virus that causes COVID

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that can cause the disease COVID-19. The virus is passed from person to person. Drops are spread by coughing and sneezing. Others may breathe them in and become infected. There are many different types of viruses, including the so-called ‘coronaviruses’. Examples of coronaviruses are MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-1, and HCoV-NL63. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is officially called SARS-CoV-2.

It is likely that SARS-CoV-2 passed from animals to humans in China. The shape of coronaviruses is striking. If you look at the virus under an electron microscope, you will see protrusions with a bead on them. That looks a bit like a crown. The Latin name for crown is corona. So it is named after its shape.

Viruses are constantly changing. The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 originated in one place in China in December 2019 as a human virus. Since then, we have seen that the virus moves around the world with a slightly different genetic code, we call that a mutation. There are now thousands of variants of the virus. We have also seen different variants of the virus circulate in the Netherlands since spring. We keep a close eye on that.

Do air purifiers kill viruses?

There is a solution available for removing the virus from the air, and this is possible with the help of UVC light. Research has shown that a UVC air purifier is very effective in killing microorganisms, such as the Coronavirus. They first filter out the virus from the air (through a HEPA filter) and later eradicate it with the UVC light. Given the rapid spread of the Coronavirus, it is therefore important that we investigate how we can reduce the virus in public spaces, in order to lower the infection rate.

A direct antimicrobial approach, such as with ultraviolet C (UVC) light, is one possibility. UVC light is a well-known means of disinfecting air, water and other surfaces. This type of light has been used for nearly 100 years to reduce the spread of bacteria, such as tuberculosis, and reduce the number of infections after surgery.
Recent studies have shown that UVC light can destroy the outer layer of the Coronavirus, after which the virus dies. An air purifier with a UV lamp and a sufficient capacity is therefore capable of significantly reducing the airborne transmission of Covid-19.

Observe the precautions

There is still a lot of uncertainty about how the COVID-19 is spreading. This can happen in three different ways:

  • via large droplets released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or exhales;
  • via tiny droplets that float in the air like a kind of cloud, the so-called ‘aerosol droplets’;
  • through contaminated surfaces.
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