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University of Houston researchers unveil air filter designed to ‘catch and kill’ COVID-19

'Its ability to help control the spread of the virus could be very useful for society.'

Researchers from the University of Houston, in collaboration with others, have designed a “catch and kill” air filter that can trap the virus responsible for COVID-19, killing it instantly.
Researchers from the University of Houston, in collaboration with others, have designed a “catch and kill” air filter that can trap the virus responsible for COVID-19, killing it instantly. (University of Houston)

HOUSTON, Texas – Researchers from the University of Houston are making headway in the fight against the coronavirus.

According to a recent release from the university, researchers have now designed a “catch and kill” air filter that can trap the virus responsible for COVID-19 and kill it instantly.

The filter was designed by Zhifeng Ren, director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, Monzer Hourani, CEO of Medistar, a Houston-based medical real estate development firm, and other researchers.

During the filter’s creation, researchers said they found 99.8% of the novel SARS-CoV-2 was killed in a single pass through the filter, which is made with nickel foam. The filter also killed 99.9% of the anthrax spores, researchers said.

“This filter could be useful in airports and in airplanes, in office buildings, schools and cruise ships to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Ren, MD Anderson Chair Professor of Physics at UH, in a release. “Its ability to help control the spread of the virus could be very useful for society.”

The university is also looking into designing a desktop model that can be used in an office worker’s immediate surroundings.

For now, researchers have called for a phased roll-out of the device, which will begin with high-priority venues, where essential workers are at an elevated risk of getting the virus. This can include schools, hospitals, health care facilities, public transit, etc.

To learn more about the air filter, you can find the full release here.

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