Tackling Coronavirus in the Air

Jamie Woodhall, Technical & Innovations Manager at Rentokil Specialist Hygiene

The World Health Organisation recently updated its guidance on how Coronavirus can be transmitted from person to person, via aerosols in the air. It states that people are most at risk of this happening if inside a building when an infected person breathes, talks or coughs. A recent study in Korea even found that a person caught Coronavirus at a restaurant through infected air created by a person breathing more than 6.5 metres away.

The government advocates opening doors and windows to improve air quality; but this can be impractical, especially during the cold, wet winter, or in locations with windows that do not open. We recently surveyed 2,000 consumers across the UK and found that ‘Air to Person’ transmission of Coronavirus is a key concern. Three quarters (75%) said they can easily wash or sanitise their hands to protect themselves against contaminated surfaces, but they can’t protect themselves from breathing in contaminated air.

It appears from other responses to our survey questions that the pandemic has led to increased awareness about the importance of providing clean air indoors. Almost two thirds (64%) of people say they are more concerned about the air quality in the indoor environments they visit now than they were prior to the pandemic. Additionally, 59% of Brits believe air purification systems should be mandatory in public buildings and educational facilities.

Addressing air quality will undoubtedly be a vital part of the Coronavirus recovery, but also an important public health issue for the future. It’s why we’re excited to distribute VIRUSKILLERTM Air Purification technology.

VIRUSKILLERTM is a solution that was originally created in response to the 2003 SARS outbreak. The technology has been tried and tested for more than 15 years and can effectively eradicate airborne pathogens from indoor environments, killing 99.9999%* of viruses in a single air pass, including Coronavirus.


Unlike traditional air purifiers that can ‘trap’ airborne particles and microbes, VIRUSKILLER™ also decontaminates the air, by not only trapping but also killing airborne viruses, bacteria** and fungi. When placed correctly the unit takes control of the airflow in a room, drawing contaminated air in from the ‘breathing zone’ and then releasing fresh, clean air back into room.   

As well as deploying carbon and HEPA filters, VIRUSKILLER™ uses patented ultraviolet-C (UVC) lamps, surrounded by a mesh of chromed nano titanium dioxide tube filters that are polished with activated carbon. The emitted UV light reacts with the mesh, and in a process called ‘photocatalytic oxidation’ produces hydroxyl radicals, which acts as a disinfectant and breaks down the organic molecules. This all in one solution effectively filters dirty air, neutralises toxic air and decontaminates sick air. 

The Importance of Clean Air

VIRUSKILLER™ is set to play an important role in the nation’s recovery, helping people to safely enjoy activities indoors, giving employees and building visitors peace of mind that airborne transmission is far less likely in indoor environments when the technology is installed.

It could also eliminate scenarios that we see in so many schools and public spaces across the country, where students and building inhabitants are forced to work in cold environments because it’s advised windows should be kept open, so airflow is maintained. VIRUSKILLER™ helps to break the ‘chain of infection’ by taking control of the airflow in a room – drawing contaminated air out of the breathing zone and releasing fresh, clean air back into the environment.

Interested in Deployment?

Alongside social distancing measures, hand and surface sanitising, businesses should also think about the cleanliness of the air in their premises to ensure they are best protecting their customers and employees. There are four VIRUSKILLER™ units in the range, each designed for different business environments, and our team has been trained to advise on which best suits your requirements. For example, social distancing isn’t always a practical option in food processing facilities, due to the setup of production lines, but premises must comply with government directives to ensure they remain ‘Covid secure.’

A clean, purified air solution can reduce the risks associated with airborne viruses and bacteria, helping to ensure staff and visitors remain healthy in the premises. If you haven’t yet considered it, VIRUSKILLER™ could be the perfect solution. Contact our team to find out which unit would best suit your workplace or business.

[1] Research conducted by Opinium LLP for Rentokil Initial. Conducted 20-22 November 2020 sampling 2,000 adults in the UK
* When independently tested against Coronavirus DF2, (a surrogate for Coronavirus), Adenovirus, Influenza and Polio, the unit was found to kill 99.9999% of viruses on a single air pass.
**When independently tested against reference bacteria (Klebsiella pneumoniae, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Staphyloccus aureus subsp. Aureus, Streptoccocus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes, Escherichia coli), the unit was found to kill 99.9999% of bacteria on a single air pass.