Air Purifiers and the SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19: Understanding Guidance from the FDA
The COVID-19 global pandemic has fundamentally altered life for most Americans, and many face daily decisions about what activities are acceptable for their family. Should I return to my office this week? Is my school environment safe this week for my children? Should I keep my dentist or doctor’s appointment? When will we travel again? In the initial stages of the outbreak, the CDC emphasized the viral transmission risk of direct contact from respiratory droplets that settle onto surfaces, so people wore gloves and wiped down their boxes from the grocery store. Now, experts recognize the much greater role that airborne transmission has in spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus. (1)
With the focus on airborne transmission, especially tiny aerosols that can remain suspended in the air for many hours, questions have been raised about the use of air purifiers in the home, office, or schools to help capture the SARS-Cov-2 virus from the air. The FDA has acknowledged the role that certain air purifier technologies can play in capturing the airborne virus. This Celios G200 is an air purifier that meets the technology requirements identified by the FDA.
Airborne Spread of COVID-19
The World Health Organization (WHO) has formally recognized that SARS-CoV-2 is airborne and can be carried by aerosols, especially in indoor settings with poor ventilation. In addition to this recognition, evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may stay airborne longer than previously thought, with heightened risk in crowded indoor spaces.
Because of this, experts are now advocating for proper ventilation indoors as a necessary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. After examining indoor outbreaks of the virus, researchers highlight the importance of introducing outdoor air inside, HVAC systems equipped with filters, and the supplemental use of portable air purification devices that can remove or capture viral particles, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Can air purifiers successfully capture the SARS-CoV-2 virus? The answer depends on the type of air purification technology used and its ability to capture the smallest airborne particles. Most viruses range in size from 20-400 nanometers, with the SARS-CoV-2 measuring roughly 100 nanometers. By itself, air cleaning or filtration is not enough to protect people from exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. When used along with other best practices recommended by CDC and others, filtration can be part of a plan to help reduce the potential for airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 indoors.
Air Purifiers & the FDA
The FDA is committed to providing guidance to support response efforts to the current COVID-19 pandemic, including the use of air purification technologies.
In March 2020, the FDA issued guidance, titled “Enforcement Policy for Sterilizers, Disinfectant Devices, and Air Purifiers During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency.”
Specifically, the guidance states the following in regards to air purifiers: “FDA believes the policy set forth in this guidance will help address these urgent public health concerns by helping to increase the availability of sterilizers, disinfectant devices, and air purifiers during this public health emergency. Increased access to these devices may...reduce the risk of viral exposure for patients and health care providers to SARS-CoV-2.”
When it comes to air purifiers that claim the ability to capture the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the FDA requires that manufacturers demonstrate a 4 log reduction (through a combination of capture or destruction) of claimed particulates as well as proving effectiveness against a representative virus.
How Does The Celios G200 Fit In?
The Celios G200 Advanced Air Purifier is effective at capturing the SARS-CoV-2 virus in accordance with the guidance provided by the FDA.
Specifically, the Celios G200 meets the performance and labeling requirements provided in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s March 2020 Enforcement Policy for Sterilizers, Disinfectant Devices, and Air Purifiers During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency, published March 2020 (the FDA has not cleared the Celios G200). The Celios G200 has demonstrated up to 99.99999% filtration efficiency of ultrafine airborne particulate matter and is capable of filtering particles down to 10 nanometers in size. The Celios G200 has also demonstrated up to 99.99999% virus filtration efficiency of ΦX174, a small bacteriophage virus with a maximum diameter of ~32 nanometers, much smaller than the ~100 nanometer size of the SARS-CoV-2 virus
A Complementary Addition to Other Precautions
Filtering airborne viruses is just one part of a comprehensive set of precautions that businesses, schools, healthcare providers and others can deploy in these uncertain times. It’s important to follow the CDC’s guidance and all state, local, and organizational guidelines regarding social distancing, appropriate face mask usage and increased handwashing to reduce risk of exposure and help slow the overall transmission through our communities.
The G200 is not intended to prevent or protect from any form of illness or disease (or otherwise). To reduce the risk of fire or electric shock, do not use this fan with any solid-state speed control device. Unplug or disconnect the appliance from the power supply before servicing. The appliance is only to be used with the power supply unit provided and it must only be supplied with voltage corresponding to the marking on the appliance. Do not operate any fan with a damaged cord or plug. Discard fan or return to an authorized service facility for examination and/or repair. Do not run cord under carpeting. Do not cover cord with throw rugs, runners or similar covers. Do not route cord under furniture or appliances. Arrange cord away from traffic areas and where it will not be tripped over. Do not allow children to operate the G200 or play near the G200. Only plug the power cord into a standard electrical outlet. Do not use outdoors. Do not immerse the G200 in liquid and do not handle the G200 with wet hands. Do not insert a finger or foreign object into the airflow openings. Do not use the G200 in toxic or explosive environments or where flammable or combustible gases are present.
(1) See Enforcement Policy for Sterilizers, Disinfectant Devices, and Air Purifiers During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency.