A US air purification manufacturer has clarified that its machines cannot kill Covid-19, after church leaders who installed the technology claimed it could eliminate 99.9 per cent of the virus in just ten minutes.
Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona, drew ire after two members of its senior leadership suggested that the machines would ensure the safety of all those attending a campaign rally for US President Donald Trump on Tuesday. However, the company itself, CleanAir EXP, has now confirmed that their systems cannot be proven to destroy the virus.
In a statement, CEO of the company, Tim Bender, said: "We understand there is recent confusion around the claims made by one of our customers around our laboratory testing. We’re at the forefront of air and surface purification testing and technology — we tested with a third-party Certified Biosafety Laboratory on the best coronavirus surrogates available (Coronavirus 229E and Cystovirus Phi6) and found our patented technology leads to a 99.9% elimination of airborne coronavirus surrogates.
"We do not, however, eliminate COVID-19 at this time. Our coronavirus surrogate testing results are significant for the future of clean air. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the CDC for additional laboratory testing and support the CDC’s guidelines on hygiene habits to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
In a statement posted to Instagram, Dream City Church said:
"On Sunday we made a post for our congregation to inform them we are doing everything we can to foster the cleanest, safest environment as we resume church services. We have heard Coronavirus and COVID used interchangeably. Our statement regarding the CleanAir EXP units used the word COVID when we should have said Coronavirus or COVID surrogates. We hope to alleviate any confusion we may have caused.
"We have done our best to direct all CleanAir EXP questions to the company executives who are best suited to answer."
In the original video released by the church, which has since been taken down, Dream City's chief operations officer Brian Zastrow and senior pastor Luke Barnett claimed the machines performed an "ionisation of the air" whereby the units "take particulates out" and create an atmosphere in which Covid-19 cannot survive.
In an email to the Phoenix New Times ahead of the rally, Dr Philip Tierno, who is a New York University clinical professor of pathology, warned:
“The short answer to your question is NO, you will ABSOLUTELY NOT BE SAFE AND PROTECTED. When you are dealing with hundreds or thousands of people in an AUDITORIUM, some of whom will carry the virus."
Trump drew a large crowd of approximately 3,000 young people at the Students for Trump event. Much to the dismay of many, despite attendees being in a tightly-packed auditorium, almost no face masks or protective coverings could be seen in the crowd.