Can HEPA Air Purifiers Capture the Coronavirus?
Can HEPA Air Purifiers Capture the Coronavirus?
We have included new research that suggests the virus that causes COVID-19 may be transmitted by air.
Air purifiers with HEPA filtration efficiently capture particles the size of (and far smaller than) the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 , and many of you have asked whether air purifiers can help protect against infection. The answer is yes in theory. The CDC believes the virus is mainly transmitted by person-to-person contact, but there is growing evidence that it may also be transmitted through the air. If that is confirmed to be the case, HEPA filters will capture airborne coronaviruses.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is approximately 0.125 micron (125 nanometers) in diameter. That falls squarely within the particle-size range that HEPA filters capture with extraordinary efficiency: 0.01 micron (10 nanometers) and above. Many media outlets have incorrectly stated that HEPA filters don’t filter below 0.3 micron, and therefore could not capture airborne coronavirus. That is flat wrong. (This NASA study of HEPA filtration is quite technical, but the graph on page 7 and the preceding paragraph do a good job of explaining why 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.)
But that doesn’t mean an air purifier will protect you, because it’s not certain that the virus can survive and remain infectious in the air. The position taken both by the CDC and by other global health agencies is that the coronavirus is primarily transmitted by person-to-person contact and by contact with virus-laden droplets expelled by coughing and sneezing. Sneezes and coughs certainly suggest “airborne” to most of us, but the droplets only travel about 6 feet before dropping 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.
By staying at home, you’re doing your part to confront this pandemic and minimize community spread of COVID-19
It’s also the reason HEPA purifiers must not be considered a first line of defense against the COVID-19 virus. “The big thing with trying to say that a HEPA filter would do any good is whether you’re getting anything to the filter or not,” said Kathleen Owen, a consulting engineer with nearly 40 years’ experience in air filtration. “If it turns out—and this is the big if; I’m not sure you should even mention it—but if there’s stuff that’s getting into the air, HEPA would catch it.”
Owen noted that the coronavirus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2003 was primarily transmitted person-to-person, but is thought to possibly have been airborne as well. Research into whether the COVID-19 virus can spread via the air—meaning whether it can float around for hours, travel long distances, and remain infectious—is ongoing. An April 2 article from Nature provides an excellent summary of the studies done to date, and makes clear that there is no consensus one way or the other. However, a committee from the National Academy of Sciences has told the White House that it believes the evidence points to airborne transmission.
Until that becomes the CDC’s official position, we recommend you continue to follow the CDC’s best practices, including social distancing, wearing a mask outdoors, washing your hands frequently, and treating frequently touched surfaces with commonly sold (or homemade) disinfectants that are effective on coronavirus.
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Notice About Filter Before Use
1. Please remove the packaging of the filter before using for the first time.
2. Ensure both the filter and its cover are properly installed before using.
3. To avoid electric shock and fire, do not allow water , liquid or any flammable detergent to get into or to clean the product.
4. Do not spray perfume or other flammable spray around the products.
5. Ensure the product is used in condition of a stable and horizontal level.
6. Leave at least 30cm of space on the back and sides of the product, and at least 50cm of space above the product when using.
7.Don’t use a vacuum cleaner to clean the filter or wash it directly.