A University of Science and Technology-developed air purifier that removes up to 99.99 per cent of airborne bacteria and viruses is now available on the retail market. Costing up to $3000, the devices were first tested in laboratories where they were found to kill influenza and Middle East respirator syndrome viruses.
Most air filters merely trap bacteria. Professor Yeung king-lun, UST research team leader, said the new technology not only kills bacteria, it also destroys pathogens and mould. The elderly and chronically ill are most at risk from airborne disease. Haven of Hope hospice tested the devices for 18 months with good results, Dr Antony Leung, medical superintendent, said. Now the purifiers are being studied in the Kowloon Hospital to see how they improve the air in medical wards.
According to a UST press release, Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Disease experiments showed the air purifiers eliminated nearly 99 per cent of the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, 99.999 per cent of H1N1 and 99 per cent of EV71, a cause of hand-foot-and-mouth disease.
The air purifiers have multi-level anti-microbial filters with biocide and slowly release disinfectants into the air to help sterilise bacteria. The UST said their lab tests showed the devices eliminated a wide range of bacteria, including legionella pneumophillia, klebsillia pneumonia, serratia marcesens — a cause of urinary and respiratory infections — and pseudomonas putida — a cause of pneumonia.
Yuki Chung, a UST spokesperson, said the devices can be found at www.giabo.com, which turns out to be a brand of Chiap Hua International Ltd, maker of household appliances.