Air Purifiers and the Delta Variant

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By mid-March of 2020, many Americans realized that COVID-19 was going to change life as we knew it. As states issued stay-at-home orders and cities locked down, many people volleyed their predictions across the internet: this could last weeks, even months. Now, those early predictions feel remote, as we’ve all lived through the pandemic and its seemingly endless impact. 

However, it may be helpful to remember that it wasn’t just ordinary people who got it wrong; data shows that expert bodies and scientists also didn’t accurately forecast COVID-19 and its consequences. There were many things no one could know, but we know much more now and are armed with information to make better decisions to protect our health.

With the Delta variant circulating at a rapid rate, it’s important we begin addressing COVID-19 from a perspective of long-term entanglement and employ strategies proven to protect ourselves, our families and communities. 

In addition to following official guidelines, research indicates that supplemental measures like running an air purifier to reduce viruses may offer additional protection. 

At Air Oasis, we know that clean air is essential to maintaining good health. Our air purifiers can effectively remove VOCs, particulate matter, allergens, smoke and other toxins, as well as reduce some airborne viruses. 

The Delta Variant: What We Know

Although many predictions posited at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic proved inaccurate over time, researchers have since learned a lot about COVID-19 and how it works. With an increased trove of data to draw from (including data on the incubation period and demographic-based outcomes) and mathematical modeling, experts have honed their forecasts. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC — the primary entity responsible for monitoring and mitigating COVID-19) partners with other agencies to synthesize data and release weekly forecasts

It’s important to understand that when people talk about COVID-19, they’re no longer talking about the original strain. In fact, the original COVID-19 strain that caused the first U.S. infections in January 2020 is no longer detected, and variants — namely Delta — have risen in its place. 

The CDC tracks new variants through genomic surveillance, a process that decodes the genes of variants submitted through samples. CDC researchers found that from August 8, 2021 to August 14, 2021, the Delta variant accounted for 98.3% of all circulating variants; the agency predicts that samples from the week of August 22nd through 28th will show that number has risen to 99.1%. As Delta is currently the most prolific COVID-19 strain circulating, it’s essential to understand how it works. 

How Does Delta Spread?

Like other COVID-19 variants, the Delta variant spreads in tiny liquid particles from a person’s mouth or nose. It can spread through aerosols or larger respiratory droplets, and infected people can transmit Delta when they talk, cough, sneeze or even breathe. 

It may also spread through surface contamination, though, contrary to early research, many experts say it’s extremely rare. Although Delta spreads by the same methods as previous COVID-19 variants, it differs from previous strains in the rate at which it spreads. 

Here’s what the CDC knows about Delta variant transmission

  • The Delta variant is more than twice as contagious as other variants. 
  • The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people.
  • Fully vaccinated people with breakthrough Delta cases can transmit the virus, albeit for a shorter amount of time than unvaccinated people can transmit it. 
  • We need layered prevention strategies that include both vaccination and masking to stop the spread of Delta and end the pandemic.
  • Risk of transmitting Delta outdoors among vaccinated people is minimal, but it is possible. Immunocompromised people may choose to mask for added protection. 

Is Delta More Dangerous?

In addition to being — and partially because it is — more transmissible, many researchers believe that the Delta variant is more dangerous than other COVID-19 variants. Though only discovered in December of 2020, researchers from all over the world have already conducted many studies into the Delta variant’s unique attributes. 

Here are some of the key findings:  

  • Delta replicates extremely quickly in the body, and infected people could carry 1,000 times the viral load than people infected with the original COVID-19 strain.
  • People infected with Delta may remain infectious for longer than people infected with the original strain (18 vs. 13 days, respectively).
  • Vaccines are less effective at preventing Delta than earlier strains, according to a study recently published by the CDC. However, vaccines still reduce the risk of Delta infection by 66%. 
  • Vaccines still provide greater than 95% protection from developing severe illness and dying from Delta.  

Can Air Purifiers Prevent Delta?

There is no 100% effective method for preventing Delta, at least not yet; that’s why the CDC recommends using layered strategies. However, there are viable ways for reducing your risk of infection, including vaccination, masking and social distancing. Additionally, research suggests that air filtration and some types of air purifiers may help reduce the risk of infection. 

Recent studies illustrate that air filtration systems may reduce the amount of COVID-19 particles in the air, as well as on some surfaces. This is an important finding because other studies show that having a higher viral load (concentration of virus in an infected person’s blood) is associated with more severe COVID-19 infections and death. By drastically reducing the number of virus particles in the air, air purifiers may be able to reduce viral load and prevent severe health outcomes. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), using air purifiers and HVAC filters alongside best practices outlined by the CDC may reduce one’s risk for catching COVID-19 indoors. The EPA notes that air purifiers are especially helpful in rooms that don’t allow for natural ventilation, such as opening windows. 

However, if you’re buying an air purifier for the purposes of reducing airborne virus particles, you need to make sure it can filter small airborne particles. Additionally, researchers say that if you use a HEPA filter to trap virus particles, you should handle and dispose of the filter carefully, as with any medical or biological waste. 

Do All Air Purifiers Remove COVID-19?

Not all air purifiers offer the same level of protection against airborne particles, or any other contaminant for that matter. Unfortunately, some companies have taken advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic by exaggerating their product’s ability to remove viruses from the air. 

As a result of overblown claims of efficacy, many individuals, businesses and even schools have been lulled into a false sense of security. 

Before buying an air purifier to help protect you from COVID-19, you need to do the following: 

  • Review the science behind the company’s claims. Companies should make independent lab results readily available to you. 
  • Find out how small of a particle the filter is able to trap. Virus particles tend to be between 0.1-1 micrometers in size, although experts say that COVID-19 virus particles generally attach to droplets at least 100 micrometers in size
  • Check how much room space an air purifier is designed to filter. A highly effective air purifier that’s designed for a 10 foot by 10 foot room will not effectively filter your home. 
  • Remember that air purifiers can add an additional layer of protection against Delta when used in conjunction with best practices outlined by the CDC. Air purifiers are not an effective substitute for those practices. 

Best Technology to Remove COVID-19

Air purifiers can use a variety of methods to clean the air, and not all of them are equally effective at trapping or removing COVID-19. Most air purifier technologies fall into these four broad categories: ​​filtration, ultraviolet disinfection, electrical ionization, and catalytic oxidation. 

There is ample evidence to suggest that HEPA filters can reduce viral infections, and many experts believe it is the best technique. However, there’s also sufficient evidence that ultraviolet light can deactivate viruses, including COVID-19. 

Air Oasis Purifiers = Effective Protection Against Viruses

Air Oasis has conducted rigorous testing into its purifiers’ ability to remove or deactivate virus particles. When tested against strains of coronavirus, Air Oasis purifiers effectively reduced the presence of viruses in the air by more than 99% by deactivating and rendering them incapable of replication. As a result, many research institutions, universities, healthcare professionals and public school systems use Air Oasis air purifiers. Keep reading to learn more about our lab results. 

MERS Coronavirus and AHPCOⓇ Ionization

This study looked at the virucidal efficacy of Air Oasis’ proprietary technology known as Advanced Hydrated Photocatalytic Oxidation, or AHPCOⓇ. AHPCOⓇ ionization works when UV light shines on a photocatalyst, which activates water molecules in the air and causes them to reorganize. This produces ions that interact with single-cell contaminants, including viruses and bacteria, which deactivate them and stop RNA and DNA from replicating. 

In this study, researchers placed MERS coronavirus on a petri dish to dry at ambient temperature. Researchers positioned the virus vertically, facing the purification device, which was about five centimeters away. They found that after one hour, the virus was reduced by 99.792%; in two hours, 99.948%; in three hours, 99.997%. 

Airborne Viruses and AHPCOⓇ Ionization

In this study, researchers looked at the ​​Air Oasis IonicAir™ UV Purifier’s ability to remove airborne viruses with the same technology, AHPCOⓇ ionization. Researchers sprayed a test virus for 15 minutes in a chamber 25 cubic meters in size. The standard rate of effectiveness requires an air purifier to produce a two-digit reduction in 90 minutes — the Air Oasis purifier caused a net reduction rate of 99.5%.

Reduce H1N1 Using iAdaptAir™

This study evaluated the Air Oasis’ iAdaptAirⓇ’s ability to inactivate the airborne Influenza A H1N1 virus. The iAdaptAirⓇ air purifier works by combining the top purification technologies: high-quality HEPA filter, carbon filter, UV, AHPCO® and Bi-Polar® ionization. 

To conduct this study, researchers exposed a room to a viral load of H1N1 that was created according to lab specifications. Researchers operated iAdaptAirⓇ air purifier remotely and began calculating reduction. After 20 minutes, they found that the viral load had been reduced by 99.9%, effectively inactivating the virus. 

Best Air Purifiers for COVID-19

At the end of the day, an air purifier alone may not stop you from getting the Delta variant or any other COVID-19 strain; your best bet for avoiding infection is by following safety guidelines issued by the CDC. However, research is clear that an air purifier can reduce many contaminants from your indoor air, including some viruses. 

If you’re looking for the best air purifiers to boost your protection against Delta, we suggest two systems: the Air Oasis iAdaptAirⓇ or the Air Oasis IonicAir™ UV Purifier

Both air purifiers have been rigorously tested, and the lab results indicate high virucidal efficacy. If you have questions about our air purifiers or want to discuss which technology is right for you, give us a call at 806-373-7788 or contact us online.