New, more contagious mutant strains of coronavirus first discovered in Britain, South Africa, and Brazil are spreading widely. As more schools and businesses hope to reopen fully, can HEPA filtration still provide an extra layer of protection against COVID-19 variants ?
Yes, HEPA Still Provides Protection. Here’s Why:
According to Johns Hopkins infectious disease professor Dr. Robert Bollinger, B.1.1.7, one of the known variants, involves a mutation in the virus's spike protein (more on this later). However, the size of the virus particle itself is not affected.
Alen medical-grade HEPA filtration removes airborne COVID-19 particles quickly and effectively.
Our independent lab testing determined that Alen’s True HEPA (H13) filters can capture over 99% of particles in COVID-19’s size range (0.6 – 0.125 microns). This study also confirmed that Alen’s BreatheSmart 75i removed 99.4% of COVID-19 particles from a 1,050 CuFt chamber within 20 minutes.
A diagram of the test chamber, which was flooded with an FDA-approved COVID-19 proxy virus (MS-2 bacteriophage).
What’s Different About COVID Variants?
As mentioned previously, the variant affects the virus's spike protein. According to BBC Future, these proteins stud the outside of the virus and attach to the external cells. This then enables the rest of the virus to sneak in and replicate.
Are COVID Variants More Deadly?
According to Ben Lopman, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at Emory University's school of public health in Atlanta, "there are many variants out there," but several of them are more worrisome because they "appear to be spreading more quickly" and could "possibly (replace) the variants that were previously dominant," he said.
The B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in Britain, is now spreading throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark. According to the New York Times, it appears to be 30-70% more contagious and possibly more lethal.
Although data is still minimal, new strains can lead to further outbreaks. More outbreaks mean more sick people, potentially putting additional pressure on our already burdened health systems.
Do Vaccines Work on COVID Variants?
Fortunately, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Again, data is very limited right now. However, it suggests that the vaccines will still provide immunity against COVID-19 variants, according to the World Health Organization. For scientists to determine precisely how much less effective the vaccine will be against a specific strain, more clinical trials must be conducted. Additionally, vaccine makers are currently developing booster shots to protect against these new variants.
How Do I Protect Myself Against These New Variants?
Regardless of variant type, the same safety guidelines should be followed. Dr. Stuart Ray, vice chair of medicine for data integrity and analytics at Johns Hopkins said:
We need to re-emphasize basic public health measures, including masking, physical distancing, good ventilation indoors, and limiting gatherings of people in close proximity with poor ventilation.
The Bottom Line
Air purifiers alone cannot completely protect you from COVID-19 variants. However, they can add an important extra layer of safety that's recommended by the CDC, EPA, and Harvard Health. Alen provides a range of customizable True HEPA air purifiers, so you can enjoy cleaner air and peace of mind.
The quiet yet powerful, the Breathesmart 75i can effectively remove over 99% of virus particles, helping more than 30,000 classrooms across the US safely reopen. For more information, visit our Alen for Schools page, call 855.200.5483, or email our dedicated School team firstname.lastname@example.org.