Why are air purifiers insufficient against the spread of viruses?

air purifier virus uvc

During this pandemic, the use of air purifiers intended to filter and remove certain particles is strained. But are these devices really effective against viruses? Is Covid-19 completely eliminated?

How does an air purifier work?

The goal of an air purifier is to filter the air and release it completely depolluted. It fights against:

  • Bad smells;
  • Indoor pollution;
  • Suspended particles, also known as aerosols;
  • And limits the spread of harmful, allergenic or even viral residues.

As a result, it improves indoor air quality and prevents breathing problems or allergies.

Can an air purifier eliminate coronavirus?

The procedure is of interest in the prevention of respiratory and allergic diseases for people at risk, but it is incapable of eliminating 100% of viruses present through microparticles.

Although this technology has proven its worth in the laboratory, the national Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety states that “scientific data do not demonstrate the efficacy and safety of air purifiers in real-world conditions.” (1)

The Anses even reports that certain air purification devices can lead to the degradation of indoor air quality. Indeed, by trying to destroy pollutants, some air purification systems will create others that are just as dangerous to our health.

According to the latest studies (2), we know that the lifespan of the virus can be of more than 20 days on uncleaned surfacessuch as phone screens. The virus could therefore survive in a filter for a long time, meaning that air purifier filters would thus require regular changes or cleaning to be effective.

Is this really conceivable in establishments as large as restaurants, or even hotels?

air purifiers virus covid 19

Can it protect against virus contamination?

Olivier Rogeaux, an infectious disease specialist at the Hospital of Chambery, mentions that “this may be a supplementary device, but is by no means the barrier against Covid-19.” (3)

Indeed, an air purifier cannot fully and effectively protect you from airborne viruses. Although barrier gestures should be prioritized, the skin and respiratory airways remain the primary sources of contamination. This makes it impossible to be 100% protected using only air purification systems.

Olivier Rogeaux adds: “It would be appropriate for a disease that is transmitted aerially. This is not the case in the vast majority of cases.”

In conclusion, air purifiers are interesting devices as supplementary and curative aids to fight respiratory and allergic problems. But they are insufficient in fighting against the spread of viruses,such as Covid-19 or influenza, which are both transmitted through microparticles present in the air.

Combining an air purifier with UVC rays

Using an air purifier to clean the indoor air of your premises can be useful in increasing daily air quality. But to decontaminate the air and eradicate all viruses, bacteria and pathogens, it is paramount to add germicidal lamps.

It is ultimately a much-needed solution to the preventive actions of air purifiers and to the barrier gestures recommended by the WHO.

Unlike air purifiers, UVC germicidal lamps are capable of eradicating 99.9% of viruses in the air and on surfaces in a couple seconds. In this way, you can guarantee the health safety of your premises by preventing the spread of even the most stubborn viruses.

For more information on UVC decontamination.

To find out in which industries our devices can be used.