Can Hepa Filtration Mitigate Covid-19?

Posted:04/04/2020

Can Air purifiers with HEPA filtration efficiently capture particles that are the size of the new coronavirus? The short answer is yes, --air purifiers are effective in protecting against infectious airborne viruses and pathogens.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is approximately 0.125 micron (125 nanometers) in diameter. It falls squarely within the particle-size range that HEPA filters capture with extraordinary efficiency: 0.01 micron (10 nanometers) and above. Some have claimed HEPA filters don’t filter below 0.3 micron and therefore can’t capture the new coronavirus. That claim is false. A NASA study of HEPA filtration determined HEPA filters are actually most efficient—almost 100 percent at 0.01 micron—at capturing ultrafine particles below the 0.3-micron HEPA test standard.

While scientists are still researching how the new coronavirus spreads, the current consensus is that it is not an airborne virus, and that’s the position of both the CDC and other global health agencies. Rather, experts believe that the coronavirus is transmitted by person-to-person contact and by contact with virus-laden droplets expelled by an infected person’s coughing and sneezing. Coughs and sneezes certainly suggest “airborne” to most people, but such droplets travel only about 6 feet before falling out of the air and settling on surfaces. This is one reason health agencies worldwide are recommending 6-foot (2-meter) “social distancing” and related efforts like frequent handwashing and disinfection of surfaces as the primary means of protecting yourself.

When it comes to Covid-19, it is the position of the CDC and other global health agencies, the coronavirus is transmitted by person-to-person contact and by contact with virus-laden droplets expelled by an infected person’s coughing and sneezing. Coughs and sneezes certainly suggest “airborne” to most people, but such droplets travel only about 6 feet before falling out of the air and settling on surfaces. This is one reason health agencies worldwide are recommending 6-foot (2-meter) “social distancing” and related efforts like frequent handwashing and disinfection of surfaces as the primary means of protecting yourself. HEPA purifiers are not considered a first line of defense against the virus that causes COVID-19 because of this. Studies are underway, similar to the SARS and H1N1 outbreaks—that the virus behind COVID-19 can become aerosolized and remain airborne for several hours. If so, Hepa air filtration and purification will mitigate the spread of the virus from spreading through indoor air systems and hvac.

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