Omaha businesses try technology as tool to fight COVID-19

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Several companies in the area are deploying technology to fight the spread of COVID and other viral infections.

But does it work?

“It’s a means to create safer and cleaner air …”

This little computer box could help prevent viruses from spreading indoors. It’s called needle-tipped bipolar ionization and uses an HVAC system that uses compressed air.

According to Brad McKewon of Mechanical Sales Inc., the system filters dust, pollen, odors and even microscopic viruses like COVID-19 out of the air.

“We release positive and negative ions into the air stream,” McKewon said. When the ions come into contact with viruses and pathogens, the surface proteins become inactive. If they become inactive, they cannot spread or become infected. “

The neutralized microscopic particles then stick together so that they can be more easily caught in filters.

“Since these particles clump together and get larger with the return air system, they can be filtered out more easily.”

How effective is it?

6 News found a study by Innovative Bioanalysis and a statement from the EPA identifying needlepoint bipolar ionization as an emerging technology that holds promise in laboratory settings. Both indicate that more research is needed.

There are critics.

A professor of architectural engineering at Penn State University told NBC, “Most studies are conducted in conditions that do not fit real-world situations.”

However, for the landmark building owner, the potential benefits outweigh any skepticism. They are installing the system before the dual-use hotel and office building opens later this month.

Jason Fisher, President of Lund Company, said, “As we worked with our team, the hotel, COVID, and even our offices, we looked for the best ways to make places safer.”

6 News asked, “Was it a no-brainer?”

“I think it was,” said Fisher.

The cost will vary based on the available HVAC systems and coverage area. However, these boxes can easily be connected to any compressed air system.

It is the latest endeavor to alleviate the worries of those who work or who spend a lot of time indoors.

“Everyone is concerned about air quality. COVID-19 has turned this from a major issue to a number one issue. When individuals return to work, facility managers and owners look for options that will help their employees and clients feel safe. “

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