University of Houston Helping Texas Schools

IVP Biodefense Indoor Air Protection System™


By Nadine Post

Air Purifiers with Filters that ‘Kill’ Coronavirus Are in Production

The first mobile units of a new air purifier—with a heated nickel-foam filter that traps and zaps more than 99% of the coronavirus and anthrax spores—will be delivered to schools in Texas in time for the beginning of classes, says Integrated Viral Protection, which is commercializing the air filter developed by researchers at the University of Houston. The mobile units are in production in three plants—in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. IVP also is gearing up a custom retrofit service for existing central air systems.

A patent is pending for the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system filter, called the Biodefense Indoor Air Protection System, says Garrett K. Peel, a principal of IVP, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Medistar Corp.

The filter is based on HEPA-filter technology, but it contains an integral heating element that works on the principle of thermal disinfection. Tests at the Galveston National Laboratory determined the filter, heated to 200° C, can trap and deactivate 99.98% of the coronavirus—responsible for COVID-19—as well as 99.9% of anthrax spores that pass through the filter.

The filter also likely destroys other pathogens, including legionella, says Peel, also a co-lead investigator for the University of Houston (UH) research. Researchers did not test specifically for the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, found in mist expelled from cooling towers. But because the filter is 99.9% effective for anthrax spores, “typically the gold standard for air disinfection,” it also would likely destroy legionella, says Peel.

“It basically can catch and kill spores as small as 100 nanometers or as large as 1,000,” adds Zhifeng Ren, co-lead investigator and director of UH’s Texas Center for Superconductivity. “Nothing can survive biologically” because of the intense heat, Ren says, adding that the virus itself can’t survive temperatures above 70° C.

(Pictured Above) A model of an HVAC system with the new air filter, which traps the coronavirus and other pathogens and deactivates them using high heat.

Originally published on August 13, 2020