University of Houston researchers create nickel foam filter to catch and kill COVID-19 virus

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Researchers from the University of Houston designed an air filter that can trap the virus responsible for COVID-19, killing it instantly.

The "catch and kill" filter was designed by Zhifeng Ren, the director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the university, collaborated with Monzer Hourani, the CEO of Medistar, a Houston-based medical real estate development firm, and other researchers to design the "catch and kill" filter.

The researchers reported that virus tests at the Galveston National Laboratory found 99.8 percent of the novel virus that causes COVID-19 was killed in a single pass through a filter made from commercially available nickel foam heated to 392 degrees Fahrenheit.

"This filter could be useful in airports and in airplanes, in office buildings, schools and cruise ships to stop the spread of COVID-19," said Ren. "Its ability to help control the spread of the virus could be very useful for society."

He said Medistar executives are also proposing a desktop model which could clean the air in an office worker's immediate surroundings.

The researchers knew the virus can remain in the air for about three hours, meaning a filter that could remove it quickly was a viable plan. Medistar knew the virus can't survive temperatures above 158 degrees Fahrenheit, so the researchers decided to use a heated filter. So, they made the filter temperature far hotter, killing the virus almost instantly.
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