Clearing the air: A look at Radic8 VirusKiller Technology
While dentistry has been on the forefront of infection control with the sterilization of instrumentation, the proper surface disinfection of surfaces, the use of PPE and the control of intraoral aerosol through rubber dam use and high-volume evacuation (HVE), general office air purification is becoming the next level of protection to consider.
Successful infection control protocols are considered to require a layered or bundled approach — there’s not one solution for all; instead, multi modalities and safeguards provide the best approach. In consideration of air quality, the EPA has offered a three-step approach to controlling air pollutants in general that fit well into consideration for dentistry:
- Source control: The most effective, it stops the “pollutants” at the source. In dentistry we consider source control as minimizing aerosol-generating procedures or the use of high-volume evacuation or products such as the Isolite for hands-free intraoral suction.
- Increasing ventilation: Moving pollutants out of the breathing zone through the use of increased efficiency of air flow of existing or new HVAC systems. Air flow is key, and it is important to understand the flow of the air from the supply to the return and how to increase the circulation of the air efficiently and effectively within a space. An HVAC technician can aid in the maximizing the filtering and air flow within an HVAC system.
- Air purification: The use of filters and/or deactivation technologies to filter (capture) pollutants or deactivate the viruses, bacteria and other particles through the use of technologies that disrupt the RNA/DNA (e.g., ultraviolet germicidal irradiation), clump the particles out of the breathing zone (e.g,. ionization) or oxidize/burn the particles (e.g., photocatalytic oxidation).
Many dental offices have purchased either consumer- or professional-level local air purification systems that have filters or technology and circulate the air throughout the chosen spaces (operatory, waiting room) to provide cleaner air. It may be prudent to consider that while the consumer models may be effective for in-home use for a specific space, a dental office environment does have unique characteristics with new patients (i.e., new air) arriving and leaving every 15 minutes, a much greater patient and team load and much more airborne pollutants than normally found in a home environment (e.g., aerosols, volatile organic compounds, vapors).
When considering which air purification system(s) to purchase, recommendations are often made to consider room air exchanges (air changes per hour), fan speed and coverage.
But one question remains that is often not considered — how many times does a given quantity of air need to pass through a device in order to be “purified”?
Devices (most air purifiers) that require multiple cycles in order to achieve decontamination have the unfortunate result of sending either partially contaminated air, or air that has simply never been decontaminated at all, back into the room where it can go back into the breathing zone, essentially recirculating contaminated air.
That same partially contaminated airborne pathogen needs to make its way back into the device, multiple times, in order to be truly purified, of which there are no guarantees. This has the ultimate effect of “mixing” contaminated air around the room, which is unacceptable if occupants are expected to be in the space while the unit is active.
Radic8’s VirusKiller (VK) Technology boasts near-100 percent (99.9999 percent) virus elimination in only a single air pass through its patented Reactor Chamber found within every VK unit. In short, air that moves into the VK units is purified and then circulated back into the breathing zone of the room.
How does VirusKiller Technology work?
Radic8’s VirusKiller Technology has the ability to eliminate particulate matter via filtration and viruses and pathogens via decontamination. The air leaving the VK units is proven to be purified — offering true peace of mind to those in our shared spaces.
In the first stage of the VirusKiller process, air is confronted with a series of filters consisting of a pre-filter, carbon filters and HEPA filter. This triple filter arrangement effectively traps particulates, irritants and other ultrafine particles that can cause respiratory issues, as well as neutralizing toxic gases and VOCs.
Filtration alone is not enough where bioaerosols are concerned. Viruses and other airborne pathogens require specialized processes to eliminate, and it is from here that the air moves into Radic8’s patented decontamination technology — the Reactor Chamber.
The Reactor Chamber is the core technology that has been continuously developed and matured to power Radic8’s air purification performance for the last 16 years. The chamber — based around the now well understood principle of germicidal photocatalytic oxidation — features a number of key design elements that allow it to eliminate 99.9999 percent of viruses, bacteria and other airborne pathogens in a single air pass.
First, a quick refresher on photocatalytic oxidation. There are two main components to the process: UV light, and a surface coated in titanium dioxide (TiO2). UV light reacts with the titanium oxide catalyst to produce hydroxyl radicals, which attack the organic compounds in bioaerosols and break them down into trace, harmless amounts of water and carbon dioxide.
The VirusKiller Reactor Chamber features a unique layout of TiO2 filters. These are designed to maximize the active surface area for light to come into contact with and arranged in a layout that ensures air passing through gets as much exposure as possible to the germicidal effect of the reaction.
In the Radic8 VK units — where single air pass performance in larger spaces is required (VK 103) — one or two UV-C lights are not powerful enough to deactivate viruses on a single air pass. A limited amount of UV light means a smaller number of hydroxyls to break down bioaerosols and pathogens, meaning air would need multiple passes in order to become fully purified, and there would be a constant risk of still-contaminated air being sent back into the room.
Instead, Radic8 employs a bank of no fewer than eight, premium UV-C lamps that have been engineered to safely operate at much higher power levels than is typical. This ensures coverage of the entire airflow path within the Reactor Chamber.
Putting these two technologies together — 70 or more hexagonal TiO2 filters and eight high power UV-C lamps in the Radic8 VK 103 units — means the Radic8 VK 103 has extensive photocatalytic exposure to contaminated air within the chamber. The large amounts of UV light being produced reflect on the surfaces of the tube filters, ensuring complete distribution of germicidal action within the chamber.
And of course, when purified air is sent back into the breathing area of a room, we have a system of real-time protection for occupants, patients and team members.
Henry Schein offers three models of Radic8 VirusKiller units. One is ideal for waiting rooms and large clinical spaces (VK103), another for most operatories (VK 401) and finally one for small office or front desk protection (Hextio). All feature the patented VirusKiller Technology. Please contact your Henry Schein representative for more information, go to https://henryscheindigital.com/radic8 or speak to an Air Management Specialist at (866) 530-3543.
Note: Radic8 line of products are not FDA cleared or approved. Marketed under FDA’s Enforcement Policy for Air Purifiers, during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Tested on viruses that are representative of SARS-CoV-2 but not SARS-CoV-2 itself. This product has not been tested on SARS-CoV-2. This product is for medical purposes and should be used as an adjunct to personal protective equipment (PPE) and other infection control procedures. When using VirusKiller, basic safety precautions should be observed, and instructions should be read to reduce the risk of fire, electric shock or injury; the appliance should not be used by children or adults with reduced capabilities. Looking directly at an ultra-violet light may cause permanent damage to the eyes.
(Source: Henry Schein Inc.)