Campus Coronavirus News

Air filters preventing spread of COVID-19 to be installed

Nanotech-coated air filters will help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on UH campus. | Sydney Rose/The Cougar

Nanotech-coated air filters will help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on UH campus. | Sydney Rose/The Cougar

UH Facilities is working to install and spray down air filters on campus to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The nanotech-coated air filters, researched and developed by physics professor Seamus Curran, will have a coating so small on the filters that people will not be able to see the nanotechnology at work.

“The virus travels in the air in droplets, and even when almost dry (particulates), it still has moisture surrounding it,” Curran said. “The coatings help block the virus from penetrating the filters.”

The air currents for these filters generate by heating, ventilation and air conditioning. These currents take in all particulates including virons, which consists of RNA or DNA with a protein core.

In 2020, there was discussion of a heated foam air filter that could kill the virus being an option for the UH campus.

Cleaning the filters will be the same as cleaning a normal filter. This will include spraying with anti-microbial or ethanol product before disposing, Curran said.

“They cannot help when someone coughs all over you,” Curran said. “But if there are particulates or droplets in the air, it helps in getting rid of those droplets which normally are recycled from room to room when people who are infected are coughing or even breathing indoors.”

The air filters have been tested by third party companies Edison Energy and Water Lens. They are able to detect a rise in the coronavirus in wastewater before major breakouts occur.

Curran Biotech has a distributer carrying these nanotech-coating sprays for home filters as well.

The nanotech coating Curran uses is able to be applied to filters already installed in a UH building’s HVAC system.

“If the building is energy efficient, air will be passed from one room to the next, and this will go for most dorms as well. Where the rooms are treated, this aids in stopping the spread of the virus,” Curran said.

“It does not mean face masks are not required and hand washing must be always be done. But at least we can start cleaning the air.”

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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