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Infectious disease

C&EN En Español

Infografias Periodicas: Comparación de cómo las tecnologías de purificación de aire atrapan y atacan los virus

Andy Brunning, educador químico y bloguero de Compound Interest, explica la ciencia que sustenta la manera en que varios métodos de purificación de aire eliminan virus como el SARS-CoV-2

by Andy Brunning, special to C&EN
July 21, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 23


A four-panel infographic which highlights and compares four different air purification technologies. 

The first panel focuses on high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which use fibers to trap particles. Clinical evidence shows that HEPA filters reduce viral infections in hospitals. The diagram shows the three different mechanisms of particle capture: diffusion, interception and impaction. 

The second panel focuses on ultraviolet C (UVC) light. UVC light causes bases in DNA and RNA to fuse, deactivating viruses. The diagram shows the fusing of thymine bases in a DNA strand.

The third panel focuses on bipolar ionisation. This method of air purification uses high-voltage electrodes to ionize molecules in air. The ions react with proteins on virus surfaces, preventing the viruses from infecting cells. This method can also generate ozone, which irritates airways. 

The final panel focuses on catalytic oxidation. Shining UV light onto some materials releases electrons and leaves behind positively charged holes. Molecules in the air react with the holes to generate reactive oxygen species that damage the molecules that make up viruses.

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Para descargar el pdf de este artículo:

Referencias usadas para crear esta infografía:

Peplow, Mark. “Which Air Purification Technologies Can Tackle COVID-19?” Chemical & Engineering News, March 12, 2021.

US Environmental Protection Agency. “Air Cleaners, HVAC Filters, and Coronavirus (COVID-19).” Updated March 22, 2021.

Woodford, Chris. “Photocatalytic Air Purifiers.” Explain That Stuff. Updated Feb. 8, 2021.

Zhong, Lexuan, and Fariborz Haghighat. “Photocatalytic Air Cleaners and Materials Technologies—Abilities and Limitations.Build. Environ. (2015). DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2015.01.033.

Una colaboración entre C&EN y Andy Brunning, autor del blog de los famosos gráficos de Compound Interest (

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La versión original (en inglés) del artículo está disponible aquí..



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