IAQ Technology Proven Effective against COVID-19

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Shortly before his inauguration on January 20, then- President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his 100-day plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Biden’s plan includes calling on Congress to invest $170 billion in K-12 schools and higher education, specifically highlighting increased funding for testing, transportation, cleaning and ventilation systems.

IAQ Effectiveness Against COVID-19, COVID, HVAC, ASHRAE Codes, IAQ Technology, Phenomenal Aire IAQ technology

As the HVAC industry awaits changes in ASHRAE codes 62.1 and 62.2, two things are very likely; ASHRAE may call for higher provision of outdoor air and more robust air purification measures in response to the pandemic. Specific to HVAC professionals, this creates opportunity in the commercial space.  In response to the pandemic, demand for residential and commercial IAQ systems are at an all-time high.  As of now, the list of manufacturers whose products have been tested against the novel COVID-19 virus is very short.

Phenomenal Aire IAQ technology, made by Top Product Innovations Inc., has been proven by third-party testing to effectively deactivate SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) surface strain with a 99.40% reduction. Phenomenal Aire’s bipolar ionization technology known as a Cold Plasma Generator (CPG).

Efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus

Independent testing conducted by Innovative Bioanalysis, (BSL-3 Laboratory), utilized a testing chamber to better emulate environmental conditions of HVAC systems found in both residential and commercial applications. The results for the 60-minute test verified that 99.9% of the virus was inactivated at 60 minutes, 99.4% at 45 minutes, and 82.3% at 30 minutes.

This in vitro study was to characterize the Phenomenal Aire series C6 (commercial) cold plasma system and determine efficacy against the SARS COVID-19 virus.  The test was conducted using the commercial unit, but the Phenomenal Aire R (residential) and D (ductless) units utilize the same cold plasma technology as the C unit.  All of these units are designed to deactivate viral and bacterial pathogens on surfaces and in the air to sanitize enclosed areas.

Experimental design

A custom designed metal container 72”x30”x30” was used for a direct inoculation testing site. The testing chamber had directed extraction exhaust vent on the top of the container with a HEPA filter to prevent accidental release of the viral media. During the course of the test, two AIC2 digital air ion counters were placed directly behind the sampling area and to map ion levels for the duration of the test. One ion counter recorded negative ions being distributed and one recorded positive ions being distributed. The ambient air inside the container was 71.3F to 72.7F.

IAQ Effectiveness Against COVID-19, COVID, HVAC, ASHRAE Codes, IAQ Technology, Phenomenal Aire IAQ technologyDuring the control testing and the viral load tests, temperatures inside the test container remained consistent. The ambient humidity inside the test chamber was 44.1% and the airflow speed passing across the Phenomenal Aire Series C6 unit at the time of testing was averaged at 432 FT/M. During the control testing, one fan was placed inside the chamber to create the same simulated air flow as within the container outfitted with the ionization unit.

Four stainless steel sample plates were placed 48” away from the center of the Ionization device down-wind from the airflow in an even row. (see Fig. 1) Test pieces were inoculated with the virus by directly applying 1mL of viral media with a known concentration of 6.32 X 10^6 TCID50/mL, spread evenly on the plate and allowed to dry in the testing area. After adequate drying time, one sample swab was taken from each test piece at 15-minute, 30-minute, 45-minute, and 1-hour time intervals post inoculation.

Swabs were sealed in individual tubular containers containing 1mL viral transfer media and stored in a sealed box for the duration of the test so no further ions could interact with them.

Control summary

For the control section, two separate AIC2 Air Ion counters were placed in the center of the testing chamber. The natural state of ions was counted and little fluctuations were observed. Ion counts were recorded every 0.5 seconds and the average for the duration of the test was 08 ions per cm3 without the needlepoint bipolar ionization units running.

IAQ Effectiveness Against COVID-19, COVID, HVAC, ASHRAE Codes, IAQ Technology, Phenomenal Aire IAQ technology

There was a spike to approximately 57 ions per cm3 when the unit was opened to remove the ion counters indicating the ion count outside the chamber was approximately 50-70 ions per cm3. Due to the negligible number of ambient ions in the air outside the chamber, it was determined they would not interfere with test results.

Viral titration determined by TCID50 assay protocol

Each of the eight samples collected were subject to the same TCID50 assay protocol to determine viral concentration. Each collected swab was vortexed for 1 full minute in 1ml viral preservation media prior to serial dilution.

Inoculation of test carriers

Each of the four testing sites were simultaneously and equally subjected to a 1mL inoculation of viral media containing a known titer of 6.32 X 10^6 TCID50 per mL to ensure saturation of all materials.

Efficacy testing

Viral media with a known concentration was applied via aerosol to the materials in three locations throughout the containment unit and exposed to bipolar ionization for a period of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, and 1 hour. Swabs were taken of all material and cultured by the same means as the original viral titration performed on the BEI Resources-provided SARS-CoV-2 USA-WA1/2020 viral culture. The viral media was exposed to a consistent flow of ion density. The test objective was to obtain 15.0 x 10^3 ions /cc. Ion densities were measured every five seconds and the averaged ion density delivered was 15.1 x 10^3 ions /cc. (see Fig. 2)

Relevance to the trade

There’s little question that IAQ will continue to be a rapidly-growing sector of the HVAC marketplace.  Public awareness of indoor air quality has increased tremendously as a result of the COVD-19 pandemic, and commercial sales will likely continue to see support for the same reasons, along with demand as a result of code changes.

Selling a specific IAQ system to combat the threat of COVID-19 is simplified when verification of results can be provided.

For more information, topproductinnovations.com