- By Ethan Perez
Smart air filtration system piloted at GMH
The Guam Memorial Hospital, the designated Covid-19 treatment center on island, has launched the pilot of a revolutionary smart air filters and disinfection system donated by Docomo Pacific. The filters are part of a donation that brings immediate air purification benefits, while allowing the government hospital to participate in a pilot program with Aura Air, Docomo said.
A year into the Covid-19 pandemic, new avenues are being explored to ensure the safety of the community. The introduction of Aura Air is seen as an important step toward a healthier island community.
Although the tech is groundbreaking,"this filter does not claim to be a replacement for PPEs, but it becomes an added layer of protection," Roderick Boss, Docomo Pacific CEO, said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. "You can imagine the benefit this could be in boosting confidence for people in businesses, hotels, as we try to revive our economy."
Aura Air will monitor the air quality in various parts of the hospital before the filters are activated and during the purification process.
"Aura Air was founded three years ago with the mission to improve indoor air quality, its important to note that indoor air pollution was a public health emergency before COVID-19 however we can see how it became a bigger problem," Roy Friedburg, vice president of Aurar Air, while introducing the device itself.
Initially, the filter was designed and tested in collaboration with the Sheba Medical Center in Israel to target airborne diseases, parasites, and microbes present in the surgical department of a medical facility. Due to the pandemic situation, however, their focus has shifted completely to the virus and its mitigation in all closed environments.
"In an effort to mitigate the spread of SARS COV 2 among our staff at Guam Memorial Hospital, we are grateful to take part in the Aura Air pilot program for the benefit of our hospital staff and patients," said Dr. Joleen Aguon, GMH Covid-19 medical director.
The device draws many similarities to existing air filters of similar quality but makes use of three important patents that put it ahead of the others.
First is a custom ray filter. It is composed of three parts: a standardized HEPA filter, a layer of carbon, and lastly a smart copper fabric. This component is dedicated to filtration, i.e. isolating potentially harmful or unwanted agents from the air you breathe. Following this are dual sterilization mechanics in UVC LED lamps and a patented sterionizer.
The LEDs destroy proteins in the cell membrane of many viruses and bacteria while the sterionizer fires positively and negatively charged ions into a small space to essentially destabilize and disassemble any remaining particles, viruses or otherwise, that may have eluded the UVC light.
An all-in-one indoor air purification and quality intelligence system, Aura filters and disinfects indoor air through a unique four-stage purification process while vigilantly monitoring its quality in real-time. When hazards are detected, Aura would raise alerts, providing crucial intelligence as to the origin of the problem, solutions of how to rectify it, and alarms if immediate action or evacuation is required. While giving condition updates inside the home, Aura also monitors outdoor air quality, providing a holistic picture of today and what’s to come tomorrow.
"This past week Docomo Pacific has donated Air filters to the Guam Memorial Hospital. Filters are also en-route from Guam to Saipan for donation to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation, or the CHCC," according to Docomo public relations manager Jared Roberto.
"In our communal fight against the pandemic we try to do our part by discounting our services and strengthening our connections to cope with increasing demand—we support our frontliners and medical teams through PPE donations and monetary contributions, but still we keep asking 'what more can we do?'" Boss said.
The filter has been trialed in Sheba Medical Hospital in Israel and Aura Air claims that it is the only filter product that has been tested for its effectiveness in removing Covid-19.
"It may seem unusual for a telecom and entertainment provider to bring smart air filters to Guam & the CNMI. For us, it is a natural progression of our Smart Island, Smart Home vision for a healthy and thriving Marianas," Docomo said in a press release.
“With the sustained rise in positive cases, we felt like we needed to do more. When we found Aura Air, we knew that offering a smart air filter, an added layer of protection against Covid-19, would serve a critical need in our hospitals, in our schools and businesses and most importantly, in our homes,” said Rod Boss, president and CEO, Docomo Pacific.
Dr. Geoffrey Galgo, medical director of Guam Medical Care said AURA Air is different from common HEPA filters on the market. "Aura Air uses both UV-C light and two patented technologies to kill bacteria and viruses, include Covid-19," he said.
Dr. Hoa Nguyen of American Medical Center said he added the Aura Air filter to the clinic's isolation room. "We do everything to keep air-borne diseases from escaping the iso room and infecting other people," he said. "The isolation room is also used for patients with compromised immune systems who may be more susceptible to viruses such as Covid-19. Aura Air's an all-in-one indoor air purification and quality intelligence system, that purifies and vigilantly monitors in real time. Which is what we need for critical areas of care like this."