With the coronavirus pandemic getting graver by the day, it is important to practice caution in every way possible. While face masks, gloves, PPEs, sanitisers are treated as effective ways to keep the virus at bay, it is not guaranteed and 100 percent effective. The airborne nature of the deadly contagion, which has affected hundreds and millions of individuals around the world, has put everyone on the edge.

As India enters the fifth phase of the lockdown, where the Centre has relaxed many activities such as reopening of the offices, malls, restaurants. But the coronavirus is still lurking everywhere and the threat is not averted. In light of this imminent threat, Himanshu Agarwal, founder & Chief Executive Officer Magneto CleanTech startup, spoke to International Business Times, India about the current situation, dangers of misinformation about COVID-19, and what one can do stay safe during the pandemic.

Exclusive interview
Exclusive interviewIBT

Here are excerpts from the interview:

IBT: What is the biggest misconception people have about Covid-19?

Himanshu Agarwal: The ever-increasing number of COVID-19 cases has created a fear of death and insecurity across the world. However, peoples' lack of knowledge about the virus is what makes things even worse, giving rise to not one but several myths.

Myth 1: Only old people get affected

The virus can affect anyone irrespective of their age. it's just that older people, infants or anyone having pre-existing medical conditions live with weak immune systems. This makes them most vulnerable to the virus.

Myth 2: Virus can't survive in hot weather

Well, most hot weather countries including India, has been recording a staggering number of COVID positive cases. This fact alone is enough to bust the myth.

SARS-COV-2 virus
Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (red) infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (yellow), also known as novel coronavirus, isolated from a patient sample.Reuters

Myth 3: Protection against virus is only by sanitizing your hands and surfaces

Coronavirus has been proven to be airborne and hence sanitizing indoor air is critical. Turning on your air-conditioners can be even riskier this summer as it recirculates the inside air post cooling it. One of the best ways to sanitize indoor air in air-conditioned environments and make it virus-free would be to use central air cleaners, like most of commercial spaces around the country and doing now in order to reopen post lockdown and keep people safe.

Myth 4: Receiving package from China is unsafe

Understand that the virus doesn't survive long when in contact with objects that travel over several days and remain exposed to different temperatures.

Myth 5: Healthy diet can cure the virus

A big NO. A healthy diet can certainly boost immunity, but can't act as a medicine to an infected person.


IBT: Can air purifiers be as effective as believed and should it be the norm like face masks in every household?

Air purifiers are not new. Several workplaces have been using it to help professionals work in a safe and healthy indoor setting, as it also improves human productivity and asset life. These devices are gradually scaling traction among households as well with people buying it to keep their home filled with fresh and clean air. Now that COVID-19 has created another level of threat related to breathing among masses, both individuals and organizations are fast moving towards using air sanitizers like the Magneto Central Air Cleaner to keep indoor environment safe, clean and free from airborne viruses and infections.

IBT: Tell us about your latest offering and its benefits in the context of COVID.

Magneto Central Air Cleaner (MCAC) is an advanced multi-stage technology that can integrate with any air conditioning system and constantly sanitize air by eliminating viruses, bacteria, PM 2.5, fungi, pollen and other such pollutants while ensuring remarkable efficiency and absolute discretion. With a high filtration efficiency of ISO 16890 tested ePM 1.0 80%, meeting EUROVENT and ASHRAE recommendations for SARS-CoV-2 (virus family where COVID-19 belongs) protection, the device comes with a special 'Trap & Kill' technology that can efficiently eliminate the captured viruses, infections and all kinds of pollutants instead of letting them accumulate and grow.

In the recently launched enhanced model which is MCAC co-powered with Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI), the indoor air is completely disinfected by emitting UV-C rays that kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. These rays disrupt the DNA of the micro-organisms, thus preventing their reproduction in the process.

IBT: How can the trap & kill technology benefits users in these times?

This advanced technology follows a three-stage process. Impingement, where the device traps particles up to 10 microns in size. Polarization, where bacteria and viruses pass through this layer, get charged and start getting coagulated (converts into a semi-solid state) in the process. Agglomeration, where these coagulated particles are completely eliminated by the ultraviolet germicidal rays, thus giving way to the sanitized air to pass smoothly into the room.

It can work with any kind and capacity of an air conditioning system, including air handling units (AHU), fan coil units (FCU), TFA, HRV, Cassette, spilt models, etc. The best part? It can also be custom designed to fulfil a specific requirement. Most importantly, it meets all the guidelines issued by global bodies such as EUROVENT and ASHRAE for safety from COVID-19, making it the only solution in the Indian market that amplifies the microbe elimination on even the smallest viruses like coronavirus as per ASHRAE guidelines.

IBT: ACs are considered a luxury. How does this AC consume less electricity in order to target the masses?

Unlike other ACs that require more fan energy to force the air through a denser filter to remove dust particles, Magneto offers highly efficient particle capture mechanisms with radically low airflow resistance along with high germicidal effect.

The initial pressure drop of MCAC is as low as 1⁄4th of any other solution. It uses core filtration technology (e-filter), which ensures a much longer filter life than the best alternatives available in the market. Moreover, the impact of this product extends well beyond the energy-saving benefits. Fewer filter changes translate into big savings on consumables, lower maintenance costs and a lower carbon footprint. It also helps air-conditioner systems run more efficiently by eliminating dust and other particles from the ducts, which would otherwise keep getting accumulated and eventually reduce cooling efficiency. All these factors combined make it a perfect buy for individuals and businesses to contain the spread of COVID-19, without burning a hole in their pockets.