Webinar :Register now for Commodity Ki Paathshala webinar on ‘FPOs & Agriculture Marketing-The Beginning of a New Era’ on January 22, 4pm

Coronavirus pandemic | AC makers now have a unique problem

There is a perception that switching on a room air conditioner will lead to COVID-19 infection.

March 27, 2020 / 04:24 PM IST

The coronavirus outbreak has posed a unique problem for air conditioner brands in India. AC makers have been inundated with calls from both customers and dealers checking if switching on the device will have exacerbate the rate of transmission.

"Dealers want to know if they can return the inventory of ACs because of a hit in sales. The distributors are worried that customers may not buy these products in the near future due to a fear of contracting the virus," said the head of consumer durables at a large appliance firm.

Track this blog for latest updates on coronavirus outbreak

Experts across the world have clarified that there is a risk of contracting a virus from the recirculated air only in central ACs installed in large commercial establishments like offices and malls. Hence, government offices managing critical functions like healthcare, water and transport have been advised to keep switch off ACs.

According to Leo Yee Sin, professor and executive director of Singapore's National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), there is currently no evidence that coronavirus can spread through air-conditioning systems.

Close

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

View more
How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

View more
Show

COVID-19 virus is not suspended in the air and settles on surfaces where it is said to stay for a long duration. Hence home ACs do not have a risk where people are no infected.

The Western zone head of a white goods firm said that their customer contact service has received multiple requests from users seeking clarity on if there is a special mode to kill viruses or if some tweaks could be done to existing devices.

“While a few AC makers claim to kill bacteria, the reality is that deadly viruses like COVID-19 cannot be eliminated merely by switching on the AC. Similarly there is no research that suggests that one can contract the illness by using home ACs,” he added.

March to June is a period when afternoon temperatures touch upto 40 degrees Celsius across Indian towns and cities. Hence, this is also the peak season for AC purchase.

On one hand while the lockdown has led to deferment of AC sales, on the other there is also a perception that usage of ACs could be detrimental.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also advised the masses to avoid switching on ACs at home.

Meanwhile, AC makers are planning to come out with a campaign to sensitise the general public that home ACs will not cause any illness and it is only crowded spaces like shopping centres which people must avoid to minimise the risk.
M Saraswathy
first published: Mar 27, 2020 04:21 pm

stay updated

Get Daily News on your Browser
Sections