“The claims appear suspicious in several ways, but they do not provide enough information to decipher what they are really doing,” said José L. Jiménez, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
A phone call was not returned to Jerry McGuire, president of CleanAir EXP, the company behind the technology. Church officials did not respond to requests for comment.
These systems, which would be installed in the ducts of the ventilation system, generally use a strong electrical charge to remove the electrons from the atoms, turning them into charged ions. The ions then bind to the particles in the air, adding electrical charge to the particles. Charged particles are attracted to a surface with the opposite electrical charge. Once thrown there, they stick to the surface, are removed from the air. “This technology is well established to remove aerosols from an air stream,” said Linsey Marr, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech.
Companies like CleanAir EXP base their claims on laboratory tests conducted by outside companies but funded by the companies. A test of a CleanAir EXP device observed a different type of virus in a test chamber of approximately 900 cubic feet in volume, smaller than a box of 10 feet on each side and small compared to the size of the church.
In a more realistic environment, it would be some time before air was recirculated through the ventilation system, and someone close to an infected person could easily be exposed to the virus before the air had a chance to be recirculated and cleaned.
“The system could help reduce background levels of infectious viruses in the air, but in a crowded situation, such as a demonstration, any transmission that occurs is likely to be between people who are close to each other for long periods of time,” Dr. Marr said. said.
William P. Bahnfleth, professor of architectural engineering at Pennsylvania State University, who examined the test results, said: “Suffice it to say that, based on the available evidence, the scientific community is skeptical of the performance claims for these devices. “