Scottish dental chain, Commonwealth Dental Practice, is the first in the UK to start using new COVID-19-killing air purifiers that destroy coronavirus to levels of 99.99%.
The 'HA series' of air purifiers - a collaboration between Scottish company Purer Clean Air and Healthy Air Technology UK (Oxford University health experts) - is being used by the chain, allowing dentists to perform AGPs safely. The units deliver up to 800 m2 of purer clean air.
The air purifiers were originally created to combat air pollution in general but their capacity to capture and kill micron level particles means they can easily destroy COVID-19 and similar viruses. It has been evaluated and approved by Swiss-based SGS, the world-leading inspection and certification company.
After successful trials in hospitals in China's Shandong Province, the air purifiers are also being used in Manchester's NHS Nightingale Hospital.
Glasgow-based Chief Executive Raymond McGurk was approached by Healthy Air Technology UK - whose Oxford scientists are behind the device - due to his passion and expertise over air quality issues.
He said: 'This is about safety and providing reassurance. Dentists need equipment like this so they can get on with running their businesses and providing a safe service to patients.'
The DNO Filters in the 'HA series' air purifiers capture, kill and convert pollution and particulate matter as small as 0.003 microns. As the average COVID-19 particle is 0.12 microns, the filters can kill viruses up to 40 times smaller than COVID-19.
The air purifiers also remove other pollutants such as nitrogen and sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, bacteria, formaldehyde, odour from tobacco and alcohol, along with some of the smallest pollutant and micron-level particles from the air. The air purifiers are highly energy efficient with low running costs. The DNO filters last up to 18 months between replacement.
Through LEDs on the exterior, the air purifiers detail the levels in a room or building. The HA800 unit delivers purer clean air to over 800 m2 of area.
Dr Tiancun Xiao, Research Fellow at Oxford University's Inorganic Chemistry Department who helped develop the science and technology around the 'HA series' of air purifiers, said: 'Recent scientific research shows that coronavirus can remain viable in the air for up to three hours and can exacerbate underlying health conditions.
'From a clinical perspective using medical grade air purification systems has a positive impact by diluting concentrations of air pollutants and viruses quickly to safe levels.'
Mr McGurk - who is also a director of indoor air quality experts BRS Technology - added: 'The team from Healthy Air Technology UK contacted me because they had heard of BRS Technology's work with air-quality sensors and how we help organisations meet indoor and outdoor green energy targets.
'Our primary focus has always been on air pollution but as the scale of the coronavirus outbreak took hold, we knew our air purifier's DNO filters were more than capable of killing COVID-19.'
Jim Brathwaite CBE, Chairman of Healthy Air Technology, said: 'Healthy Air machines can continually clean the air of viruses and bacteria that float in the air, helping to protect staff and patients alike. The added benefit of clean air without NOx and SOx, especially for town and city based practices, means better working conditions for all using our purification perfected DNO Technology.'
While the purifiers kill airborne pollutants and coronavirus to levels of 99.99%, there is still the need to clean surfaces and follow the recommended advice for social distancing.
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COVID-19-killing air purifiers adopted by Glasgow dental practice. Br Dent J 229, 318 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-020-2162-x