Filters: A Key Tool in the Fight Against Covid-19
For over 4,000 years, the evolution of the filter has been directly linked to improving human health and life expectancy. The first great civilizations, like the ancient Egyptians, used sand and gravel as filter media to improve the taste and appearance of water. Today, filters have become an essential component of our entire way of life. They are found in countless industries, manufacturing facilities, processes, and, in many cases, the end products. More importantly, filters enable the tools and devices essential to defeating this invisible enemy and returning the world to some semblance of normalcy.
Since the onset of this pandemic, our society has gained a new appreciation for respirators, ventilators, and vaccines, as well as their vital role in saving lives and preventing future outbreaks. Like everything else in our modern industrial society, these life-saving tools rely on specialized filter media and advanced filtration technology. It is obvious how filters are utilized in equipment like respirators and ventilators, but when it comes to vaccines the use of filter technology is not immediately apparent.
How are filters used for making vaccines?
A successful vaccine emerges from a symphony of intricate scientific processes: concentrating proteins and enzymes, purifying blood plasma, virus and bacteria removal, and meticulous cell harvesting, clarification, and washing. Each step is made possible by the use of specialized filters and equipment, integral to the vaccine’s creation
Some common methods used in bioprocessing include membrane filtration, tangential flow filtration, centrifugation, and depth filtration. Implementing the proper filtration technology can positively affect yield, product consistency, and overall efficiency of the entire operation.
What types of filters are used?
Hollow fiber filters possess excellent filtration performance and are commonly used in dialysis, water purification, reverse osmosis, separation of components from biological fluids, and cell culture devices.
Tangential flow filtration (TFF) systems are used extensively in producing vaccines and other pharmaceutical drugs. They can remove virus particles from solutions, clarify cell lysates, harvest and retain cells, and concentrate and desalt sample solutions ranging in volume from a few milliliters up to thousands of liters.
A HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter forces air through a fine mesh that traps harmful particles such as dust mites, pollen, pet dander, smoke, and even airborne viruses. HEPA filters are used in applications where contamination control is required, such as the manufacturing of semiconductors, disk drives, medical devices, food, and pharmaceutical products, as well as in homes, vehicles, and hospitals.
How is Hapco involved in the filtration and ultrafiltration industry?
Hapco has been custom formulating adhesives, sealants, and potting compounds for some of the world’s largest filter manufacturers for over 40 years. Our materials and processing equipment are key components in manufacturing various specialized filters. As a preferred supplier to corporations like MilliporeSigma, Pall Life Sciences, and Koch Membranes, we take pride in our ability to provide customers with the highest quality polymers and the most reliable processing equipment available.
As we look to a post-pandemic future, our chemists are developing new formulations and processing methods to meet the needs of filter manufacturers around the world. We are currently conducting in-house testing on Filter-bond™ R-3590, a new epoxy formulation for the filtration market that is both Bisphenol-A (BPA) and nonylphenol-free.
What other Hapco products are used to manufacture filters?
The Filter-bond™ series was first developed in the 1980s for various filtration and ultrafiltration applications. It includes formulations that do not contain aromatic amines or carcinogenic or mutagenic materials, systems that can be used to pot moist membrane material in place without foaming, and systems that are easily trimmed when used for pre-potting filters. Filter-bond™ includes flexible and rigid materials to meet various filtration applications. All Filter-bond™ products are compatible with Hapco’s MiniFIL™ and RapidFIL™ dispensing machines for potting or encapsulating various filter media.
Filters are one of mankind’s greatest achievements and a major reason our life expectancy has increased dramatically over the past 200 years. They clean the air we breathe, the water we drink, the fuel that moves us forward, and the medicine that keeps us healthy. Without them, there is no way to manufacture the life-saving and preventative drugs that offer us a light at the end of this tunnel.
Fun Fact: Hippocrates (460-370BC) was recorded as history’s first major proponent of water filtration. He advised people first to boil, then filter water through two sewn-together pieces of cloth, which eventually came to be known as a Hippocrates’ Sleeve.