The University of Santo Tomas Hospital asked the Department of Science and Technology-Industrial Technology Development Institute (DoST-IDTI) to evaluate certain air filters that could be used in their respirators and ventilators — critical instruments given the coronavirus crisis.
UST Hospital consulted with the DoST-IDTI’s Advanced Manufacturing Center for Materials Development (AMCen-Matdev) team regarding the characteristics of alternative types of air filter alternatives.
According to UST Hospital anesthesiologist Dr. Meyvell Atanoso, the hospital uses an air filter called the Heat and Moisture Exchange (HME) filter on their respirators and ventilators, but the difficulty of acquiring HME filters amid the health crisis prompted the hospital to search for an alternative filter that performs similarly to HME filters.
The hospital sent samples of the HME filter to the AMCen-Matdev Team in mid-April 2020, along with samples of particulate matter or PM 2.5 filter, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, and the common surgical mask for comparison.
Recommendations from the team led by senior science research specialist Marianito Margarito, which had conducted optical microscopy in comparing each filter, stated that an electrostatic filter is a better alternative to the HEPA filter, as the electrostatic filter uses electrostatically-charged filters.
The UST Hospital has acquired a supply of electrostatic filters and submitted some samples for the team’s evaluation.
At present, the DoST team works with the ITDI’s Advanced Device and Materials Testing Laboratory to analyze new samples with their equipment. Also, the UST Hospital continues to use their present air filters and could switch to the electrostatic filter recommended by the DoST.