From the global lockdown threat to the race for a vaccine, it seems that everywhere we turn COVID news is suffocating the air. But, what if I told you that Israeli innovation has brought to life a device to purify that air? And just maybe be part of the global effort to getting things back to some kind of normality, and allow us to breathe again.

Airborne virus killer

Israeli startup ProtectAir develops an air-purifier that neutralizes over 99% of airborne viruses and bacteria. This purifying solution is the brain baby of Hila Pharma CEO Meir Dahan, who also previously headed the pharma division of nuclear medicine at the Israeli-based Soreq Nuclear Center. Furthermore, it has a significant impact on preparing for not only a potentially long-term COVID reality but even after, as global virus and disinfectant fears will probably remain in place.

The need for an airborne bacteria or virus killer is extremely high, as the airborne Coronavirus threat limits our ability to congregate, and therefore readapt to our pre-pandemic lives. “This product can provide a solution for retirement homes, offices, trains, buses and any workspace during these difficult times, thus creating a much safer public environment,” says Meir Dahan, CEO of Hila Pharma, the company behind ProtectAir.

Founded by Dahan in March 2020, during the initial global outbreak, the ProtectAir product releases chlorine dioxide (ClO2) into the air at a very low concentration that is safe for humans and animals. The ClO2 neutralizes any viruses and bacteria in the air. When a person with COVID-19 sneezes, coughs, or speaks, nasal and saliva discharges get released into the air. The droplets are heavy and will settle fast. ProtectAir attacks those secretions before they settle on surfaces. It does it by deactivating the virus' receptor binding and preventing viral multiplication.

The substance used in the purifiers has been found to be effective against COVID-19 by Aminolab Laboratories, one of the leading testing facilities in Israel. In addition, ProtectAir can also help destroy aerosols carrying the virus. Until now, the WHO has reported that droplets were the main method of transmission. However, the WHO is now recognizing the airborne spread of the virus through tiny particles that remain suspended in the air for hours – especially in closed rooms.

The safe employment of chlorine dioxide has been approved by a number of regulatory authorities, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and has a number of uses including the treatment of drinking water. ProtectAir uses a significantly lower volume than that allowed in potable water and disperses in the air in a low concentration that does not pose a danger. ProtectAir has been tested in Israel for both safety and efficacy in leading Israeli laboratories and has already started to close global distribution agreements in companies in Chile, South Korea, Spain, and more.

According to Dahan, “As soon as I received the lab results, I immediately knew we had made a big discovery. This product can be made available to any household, regardless of economic status. Everyone can now take control of their health and protect themselves from COVID-19.”