The start of the school year is approaching ... The restrictions in terms of remote working are becoming more and more eased, and returning to physical workplaces is favoured by many companies in the face of this COVID-19 epidemic.
However, some reluctance is felt by employers but also employees. What will be the new measures put in place? Will the barrier gestures be respected? What will happen to the general safety of employees at their workplace? What devices are suitable to fight against the virus and its variants?
Could an air purifier be the solution?
What is a purifier? An air purifier can filter indoor air, both at home and in the office. Its main action is to capture ambient pollution in order to improve air quality. This not only limits the spread of fine particles and chemical pollutants, but also allergens, thus preventing asthma and allergy problems linked to air quality for people at risk.
You are probably asking yourself the question: how effective is a purifier against germs and, in particular, against COVID-19? The effectiveness of HEPA filters and UV rays in capturing and destroying the coronavirus when it is present in the air has been demonstrated by numerous studies. This is why these two technologies are central to the recommendations of many healthcare professionals.
AIRVIA Medical, a French company, offers models of high-end air purifiers that can be installed in the home and the workplace. Our AERO 100 and PRO 150 models cover an area of 100m2 and 150m2 respectively. The purifiers combine 8 filtration technologies including a HEPA H13 filter, an activated carbon filter, UVC rays, and, optionally, an ioniser.
Our AIRVIA Medical air purifiers also use two technologies that also have the potential to act against the coronavirus: photocatalysis and ionisation. Both have presented interesting results especially when tested against the influenza virus.
Efficiency observed in the workplace
In order to realise the efficiency of an air purifier in the workplace, Octopus Lab (a French company specialising in forecasting indoor air quality in buildings) carried out a study to quantify the impact of our air purifiers on the transmission of the virus and on the rate of fine particles in concrete and realistic scenarios. Several factors were studied: the emission of the virus, the fate of the virus in the indoor environment, the exposure of the occupant to the virus, and the effect of the virus on the body. Two scenarios were studied: the first in a cafeteria with an area of 200m2 and the second in an open space of 80m2.
In a 200m2 cafeteria:
With two purifiers on (in order to effectively cover the total area of 200m2), there is a sharp and rapid drop in the level of PM1 particles in the air as soon as the purifiers are turned on. The rate stabilises near 0 after about an hour.
In terms of the risk of infection with COVID-19, there is a reduction of up to 40% in the risk of infection thanks to the use of air purifiers when they are on.
In an open space area of 80m2:
Depending on the number of purifiers installed and the speed selected, the results will vary. However, there is a sharp and rapid drop in the rate of PM1 particles in the air as soon as the purifiers are switched on, the rate stabilises near 0 in a few minutes when using two devices or a single device at high speed. The pollution rate increases once again at 6 p.m. once the purifiers are turned off.
In terms of the risk of infection with COVID-19, a reduction of up to 40% of the risk of infection is realised through the use of air purifiers when wearing a mask is not mandatory. When wearing a mask is mandatory, there is a decrease of up to 90%. The obligation to wear a mask is inevitable in order to guarantee better safety in indoor spaces such as offices.
Open Space of 80m2 with wearing of the mask from 9h to 18h:
As demonstrated, this study has shed light on several points regarding the use of an air purifier in the workplace:
- The AERO 100 and PRO 150 purifiers are effective in reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection when used within the recommended surface area.
- Particulate filtration is the most efficient of the technologies studied.
- The operation of the purifiers after the departure of employees leads to an extremely rapid decrease in SARS-CoV-2 suspended in the air and ensures that the concentrations are almost zero if the room is reused afterwards.
- The cleaning of surfaces remains important, just like the other gestures such as social distancing and wearing a mask.
To access the detailed study, please refer to this article.