LENEXA, KS (KCTV) — People are socially distancing, wash their hands and wearing masks, in an effort to protect themselves against COVID-19, but is it possible to also clean the air they breathe?
Lenexa-based Synexis says it’s found a way to “scrub the air” of all kinds of viruses, and several area restaurants are already putting it to the test.
CEO Eric Schlote explained that the company’s system uses hydrogen peroxide to help to air in buildings purify itself.
“So that system behind me is called the Century Sphere, and it basically takes the ambient humidity that’s in the air and processes it into a dry hydrogen peroxide that essentially makes the air itself a disinfectant,” Schlote said.
Multiple studies have shown the process, which has been around for longer than a decade, does kill flu viruses, different coronaviruses that lead to colds and other bacteria.
The studies on whether it kills COVID-19 are expected soon, and if the system proves to work against the virus, it could be a real game changer for everything from bars and restaurants to schools and hospitals.
One of the restaurants giving the purifying system a try is Minsky’s, and while it remains to be seen whether it can actually kill COVID-19, there is a good amount of research that shows it is making the air inside these businesses safer.
Brian Clyne is the director of operations for all 8 Minsky’s pizzas on the Kansas side of the state line, and he said the chain had been looking at air filtration systems months ago, before COVID-19 began its spread.
“Obviously the beginning of the year as we got into the pandemic, he kind of put the gas pedal down and started looking around to try to make it happen sooner rather than later,” he said of adding the Synexis system.
Clyne said if it turns out that the system doesn’t kill COVID-19, they were happy to make the investment, roughly $17,000 per machine, just to keep the other potentially harmful germs away.
“The data shows that these systems can minimize illnesses in the workplace, and even if that’s the common flu or the common cold, that’s huge to us because that means less missed work for the employees and better operations for us,” he explained.
Dr. Dana Hawkinson with the University of Kansas Health System weighed in on the potential for a system like this one, and while he said more study is needed, there is evidence it’s making a difference.
“It uses dry hydrogen peroxide and that is very toxic to other micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungus and viruses,” he explained.
Hawkinson warns, however, that there is nothing people can do to the air that would replace the precautions the public needs to take right now like hand washing, social distancing and wearing a mask. For now, that is the only way for people to protect themselves against COVID-19. In a restaurant setting, proper washing of table and bar tops is key as well.
Results on the effects the air scrubber has on COVID-19 should be available within the next couple of weeks.
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