Used in large-scale ventilation systems worldwide, bipolar ionization could be a secret weapon in the war against COVID-19
- Bipolar ionization technology releases charged atoms that attach to and deactivate harmful substances like bacteria, mold, allergens, and viruses.
- It first arrived in the US in the 1970s as a tool to control pathogens in food manufacturing.
- Bipolar ionization has already proven effective against SARS, norovirus, and several influenza strains.
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Bipolar ionization is experiencing a surge in popularity as the coronavirus pandemic fans concerns about air quality.
Integrated into HVAC systems, the technology utilizes specialized tubes that take oxygen molecules from the air and convert them into charged atoms that then cluster around microparticles, surrounding and deactivating harmful substances like airborne mold, bacteria, allergens, and viruses.
They also attach to expelled breath droplets and dust particles that can transport viruses, enlarging them so they're more easily caught in filters. It's an active process that provides continuous disinfection.
'The ions produce a chemical reaction on the cell membrane surface that inactivates the virus,' Philip Tierno, a clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at the NYU School of Medicine, told Business Insider. 'It can reduce 99.9% of microbes in a matter of minutes.'