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Air Disinfection vs Air Purification – A Guideline to Improve the Airflow

Business Wire India COVID-19 has been wreaking havoc on human lives for over one year, and there have been multiple sources of information and misinformation on plausible solutions against such airborne infections. Some inflated and fictitious communication, regarding preventing such air-borne infections may give consumers a false sense of security. Trivector Biomed LLP, a well-known brand that has been introducing cutting-edge and innovative technological solutions to the Indian healthcare sector, has identified critical factors for consumers to consider while choosing a novel device for ‘Air-Disinfectant’ – a potential, plausible solution.
With the changing course of airborne infections, it is critical for people to recognize that many viral, bacterial [particularly TB], and fungal infections are spread via the air. The danger of being exposed to infections is particularly high in crowded areas. The covid epidemic has clearly demonstrated how infection spreads in confined, crowded areas. As a result, air-disinfection devices have become a need for closed, crowded commercial spaces such as malls, restaurants, hotels, gyms, hospitals and so on, where natural ventilation is inadequate. In terms of residential areas, the growing reliance on air conditioners in confined rooms has intensified the problem of air-borne infection transmissions.
Air Disinfection vs Air Purification devices:
To begin with, the terms Air Disinfectant and Air Purifier have frequently been used incorrectly and interchangeably. Air disinfection implies eliminating up to 99.99 percent of the microbial load. Air disinfectants remove microbes from the air by reducing their concentration by the addition of fresh air, trapping infectious particles, or destroying them. Air purification or air filtration refers to the process of cleaning or diluting the air and can include the removal or dilution of certain chemicals or particle pollutants, as well as the removal or neutralization of microorganisms. Purification/Filtration is a broad term that does not specify at what “level” purification happens.
Air disinfection devices serve an essential role in reducing infectious disease transmission from one infected family member to another, as well as where immunocompromised persons are present. People undergoing cancer therapy or senior citizens with fragile health, those on immuno-suppressants for a medical condition or following an organ transplant or those infected with HIV have a poor immune system and access to cleaner air would reduce their risk of any infections.
Availability of air purification and air disinfection devices are aplenty in the market, which are broadly classified into two types – one that KILLs the microbes and the other that TRAPs the microbes. Trap technologies include use of HEPA filters in centralised AHUs (Air Handing Unit), Electrostatic Precipitation (ESP), Carbon Filters, PCOs (Photo-catalytic Oxidation), Hybrid Ionisers etc. Technologies that kill include use of UV light, Hot Air sterilization, Chemical fumigation (using H2O2 or formaldehyde etc) and the latest being cold plasma technology.
Each technology has its own drawbacks, such as the fact that filters can ‘trap’ microorganisms but do not kill them, and that if the filters are not cleaned on a regular basis, they might become a source of infection due to bacterial colonization.
UV light technology affects DNA replication of all cell types including microbes, but continued exposure to UV light can damage human health.
The ionisers, on the other hand, releases charged particles (positive and negative ions) in the environment.
Chemical fumigation takes time and cannot be utilised in occupied rooms because of the fumigants’ toxicity.
All of these technologies are beneficial for certain scenarios. There is no single device that can be utilised to solve all real-world problems.
On the contrary, the cold ultra-low energy plasma – NanoStrike Technology totally destroys whatever it comes in contact within milliseconds. As this plasma is “contained” within a device then the air that passes through such a device destroys all the microbes completely and “clean, disinfected” air is released back in the environment. Thus, there are no harmful side-effects of by-products or discharge on the occupants of the room.
Factors to consider while selecting an air disinfectant for your home, offices:

A. Certifications:
Air Disinfectants used to clean the air for human consumption shall have certificates which denote:
– Medical safety (Ozone emission etc.)
– Electrical and electromagnetic safety (RF)
– Clinical validation certificates from independent third parties
The certificates or proof to support the efficacy claims and details of such experiments using the air-disinfectants for a particular microorganism must be shared with the consumers.
B. Approvals:  
The Clinical validation certificates from independent third parties like US-FDA, CE, ISO, UL, OHSHA would allow users to take an informed decision on their air-disinfectant options.
C. Technology:
The technology used ideally should destroy microbes [bacteria, viruses, fungi and their spores] present in air, remove VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds and Chemical Air Contaminants), odours and particulate matters (PM). It should be safe, silent, hassle-free and less irritable for humans. 
The premises or area where the air needs to be purified (i.e., the viral load or bioburden in the room), the size of the room and the number and type of people, equipment and material present in the room/premises where the air needs to be disinfected.

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