Hospitals can use the new Air Pro RX system to destroy airborne contaminants.
This post is sponsored by Molekule
The cleanliness of the air in hospitals can directly affect the health of patients; poor air quality may even become a matter of life or death. Minimizing airborne pathogens is vital in medical settings because air can be a vehicle for bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other toxins to spread among vulnerable patients and may potentially cause lethal infections.
Hospitals use high MERV-rated filters in their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to capture particulate matter. However, it can be challenging to control contamination effectively, even with these filters, since HVAC systems are designed to heat and cool, not clean the air locally of bioaerosols such as bacteria and viruses. The primary sources of bacteria and viruses in a hospital are patients, doctors, and nurses. The HVAC system is ill-equipped to handle these continuous local sources.
Molekule’s PECO Technology
Over the last 20 years, leading air purification specialists at Molekule have researched how to cleanse air effectively and have developed technology to achieve effective decontamination of the air. This is where the new Air Pro RX system comes in. This movable air purification device uses Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO) technology and has been proven to reduce bacterial and virus counts to undetectable levels.
Molekule’s PECO technology features a nanocatalyst filter that oxidizes and mineralizes airborne bacteria, viruses, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as they pass through the Air Pro RX. The air purification system comprises a Pre-Filter, which captures large particles, and a PECO-Filter, which destroys microscopic bacteria, viruses, and other airborne pathogens. Molekule’s PECO technology converts contaminants into trace elements by destroying chemical and organic material on a microscopic scale.
The Air Pro RX system can be cleaned using standard wipe-down disinfection protocols, starts cleaning air immediately upon startup, and doesn’t require HVAC installation.
Protection Against COVID-19
On April 23, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided Molekule’s Air Pro RX with 510(k) class II medical device clearance for the destruction of bacteria and viruses in the air. The air purification system is designed to destroy airborne bacteria and viruses in operating theatres, isolation units, emergency waiting rooms, and any critical or high-traffic areas in medical facilities. As viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 can be aerosolized and transmitted through droplets in the air, effective air purification technology is vital to minimize the virus. Combined with personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical countermeasures (MCM), the Air Pro RX offers important additional protection in medical settings. In addition, the Molekule system meets all five performance criteria outlined in FDA guidance for air purifiers that may help reduce the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Intertek has demonstrated PECO technology’s ability to reduce the concentration of Phi X 174 (a proxy virus to SARS-CoV-2) by 98.7 percent in two hours. Additional testing by Aerosol Research and Engineering Labs (ARE) has shown Molekule’s air purification technology to reduce MS2 bacteriophage (a COVID-19 proxy virus) by up to 99.99 percent within two hours, taken from a filter sample. Based on these studies, it is clear that even after 1 or 2 hours – and certainly after 24 hours – Molekule air filters can drastically reduce the number of VOCs and viruses in the air. For this reason, Molekule’s PECO technology represents an opportunity for healthcare facilities to potentially serve patients more effectively and with less risk, which is especially crucial during this time.
“It’s critical now more than ever to consider new air purification technology and how it moves medical-facility air-quality standards forward and protects their patients,” says Jaya Rao, co-CEO and co-founder of Molekule. “With the launch of Air Pro RX and clearance from the FDA, this product allows us to reach those at their most vulnerable. We are incredibly grateful to the FDA for its thorough review process and speed in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. This FDA clearance enables us to begin to deploy our devices into medical settings immediately.”
Fighting an Invisible Enemy
Airborne bacteria, viruses, and mold can result in Hospital-Acquired Infections. Existing HVAC systems were not designed for reducing healthcare associated infections (HAIs), and antibiotic resistance is becoming increasingly prevalent. This is hugely problematic, especially as airborne bacteria and viruses can cause infection in any patient or healthcare worker and are especially dangerous to immunocompromised patients, ICU patients, and patients undergoing surgery.
Stringent air quality standards are needed to reduce HAI rates in hospitals. The Air Pro RX provides a solid foundation to achieve this reduction.
Following the FDA’s clearance, Molekule’s Air Pro RX systems are now in place in five Mercyhealth hospitals, serving five southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois communities. Mercyhealth is now integrating Air Pro RX systems throughout waiting areas and emergency facilities.
“As a company rooted in scientific innovation, we are constantly looking at ways to bring the power of PECO technology to those who need it most,” says Rao. “Today, we are facing an invisible threat in the air, and it’s more important than ever to get our PECO technology into medical facilities where patients are in respiratory distress and healthcare workers are at a high risk of airborne exposure. The work we are doing with Mercyhealth is a defining moment for getting new air purification technology deployed in the battle against this virus.”
Headquartered in San Francisco, Molekule uses science to revolutionize air purification in ways that the healthcare industry has never seen before. Molekule’s patented photo electrochemical oxidation technology inhibits the growth of pollutants that are difficult to destroy. Rigorously tested and validated by third-party laboratories and continual internal testing, Molekule’s scientific and technological specialists are fighting air pollution as one of the biggest challenges of our time.