January 07, 2022

In late November 2020, a new variant of concern, known as the omicron variant of Covid-19, was found and a range of measures was implemented to protect people from the potential breakthrough effects of the new virus.

 

The omicron variant is a mutated version of the original Covid-19 virus, and the reason why it can potentially infect people who are fully vaccinated is due to a change in its spike protein, which is the target of most vaccines, and people with a booster jab have increased their protection.

 

However, there are other ways to increase the protection from the omicron variant and other forms of Covid-19 from reducing the risk of exposure, to begin with. This includes wearing facial coverings, maintaining social distancing, avoiding crowds and using air purification units.

 

There are generally four main technologies that air purifiers use to prevent the spread of airborne viruses;

 

  • Filtration, such as those used in HEPA filters,

  • Electrical ionisation which uses electrodes to capture viral particles,

  • Catalytic oxidation such as those used on self-cleaning glass,

  • Ultraviolet disinfection.

 

The latter, in particular, has been found to be particularly effective at killing common types of airborne viruses, and research into UVC light has suggested that it can completely decontaminate a surface in a few seconds.

 

Used in combination with other safety measures, such as vaccines, social distancing and mask-wearing, air purification plays a part in helping to reduce the risk of viruses.