Researchers from the University of Houston have recently made a filtration system capable of instantly neutralizing and killing 99.8 per cent of the coronavirus after a single passage.
The new filtration system exposes the virus to levels of heat that can deactivate the virus. This comes especially handy now that the World Health Organization recognizes that the coronavirus can be transmitted through floating particles in the air.
(Photo : Screenshot From YouTube: KHOU 11)
Researchers from Houston developed an air filter they claim could kill the coronavirus upon contact.
The team is optimistic that their filtration system could be of use in many places such as hospitals, schools, airports, and businesses.
According to Zhifeng Ren, a co-author of the paper, the filter could be used in airplanes, cruise ships, office buildings, and other establishments to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Just as local businesses like bars and restaurants are starting to open their doors for business again, the filter could particularly be useful in getting rid of viruses possibly lingering in the air. The full findings of the study were published in the journal Materials Today Physics.
What Temperature Kills Coronavirus?
According to the WHO, heat at 56 degrees Celcius kills the SARS coronavirus at around 10000 units per 15 minutes.
Heat is thought to affect the coronavirus to some extent because it is an enveloped virus with a lipid bilayer. BBC says that research on other enveloped viruses suggests that its oily coat makes the viruses more susceptible to heat compared to those that do not have one.
Because outdoor temperatures rarely reach anywhere near 56 degrees Celcius, experts do not necessarily believe warmer weather will have any compelling impact on the novel coronavirus.
According to Marc Lipsitch, the director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, although there could be minimal declines in the contagiousness of the coronavirus in warmer and wetter weather, it would not be enough to stop transmission alone.
Nickel Foam and Heat to Zap the Virus
The developed air filtration system runs extremely hot, about 392 degrees, and is, therefore, able to effectively kill the coronavirus upon contact. The structure itself is chiefly made up of nickel foam.
Ren explains that the use of the material immensely helped the team meet a number of elemental design requirements. He describes it as porous, which allows the continuous flow of air.
Furthermore, the material is also flexible and electrically conductive, allowing it to be heated. However, nickel foam has low resistivity, which made it hard to raise the temperature high enough to kill the virus quickly.
The team resolves the problem by folding the foam and connecting multiple compartments with electrical wires to increase its resistance to temperatures as high as 250 degrees Celcius.
Although the system isn’t as good as a coronavirus vaccine, the researchers believe that it could be of use to many establishments as storefronts continue to open. Additionally, they also claim that the system would improve safety at workplaces, schools, hospitals, and many other businesses.
Especially with the coronavirus now being recognized as airborne, cramped up public spaces such as small pubs and bars could reduce transmission using the air filters.