Estonian UV tech company release virus-killing air purifier

Respiray’s wearable device allegedly kills over 99% of viruses and bacteria with UV light and filter.
By Sophie Porter
12:59 am
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Respiray’s wearable device

Credit: Respiray

Estonian UV technology company Respiray launched a wearable air purifier that the company claims can kill more almost 100% of bacteria and viruses, this week.

The device, which is worn around the neck, disinfects air coming towards the wearer through an internal filter and a germicidal UV-C light before it is ventilated towards their face.

WHY IT MATTERS

The device, which was developed with universities in Estonia and Poland, has undergone several tests across the two countries and has proven 99.68% effective against E.coli, 99.88% effective against S.aureus bacteria and 99.4% effective against Alphavirus, which has many similarities to SARS-CoV-2. Liane Viru, head of the Biosafety Core Facility at University of Tartu, Estonia who independently tested the device, noted that, with such a high success rate, “the remaining diminutive concentration of virus particles is very unlikely to cause infection in the target organism.”

Born out of UV LED solutions company Ldiamon, Respiray was founded in early 2020 in response to the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The founders saw the potential for UV-C to contribute to a more comfortable, more effective and more sustainable form of PPE.

The device sits on the shoulder and comes with an attachable face screen to further protect users from exposure without covering their face. It has an eight-hour battery life and is chargeable with a USB-C charging cable. It is not medical-grade but offers an alternative to traditional face coverings, with both Estonian retailers and the minister for education pre-ordering the device for customer service employees and teachers.

THE LARGER PICTURE

With lockdowns across the world easing, countries are preparing for their citizens to come into increasing contact with others. This means finding ways to stymie transmission of the virus while mass-vaccinations continue to be rolled-out.

At the start of the pandemic, PPE was in such high demand that there were global shortages and counterfeit products, forcing some healthcare providers to get creative. It is estimated that during 2020, around 1.5 billion face masks ended up in the ocean.

ON THE RECORD

Indrek Neivelt, CEO of Respiray, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the devastating consequences of respiratory viruses. At Respiray, we’re transforming the way we fight against harmful bacteria and viruses. Our wearable air purifier uses UV-C technology to disinfect the air we breathe in — providing protection without the need to cover our faces. Vaccines are beginning to have a huge impact against the current pandemic, but this and future viruses will not just disappear. That’s why it’s crucial we have additional solutions to protect ourselves and those around us.”

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