UNLV grad students building system to kill COVID-19 on grand scale

Posted at 9:36 AM, Dec 10, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — UNLV students are on a mission to wipe out COVID-19. For them, it's about breathing cleaner air. 13 Action News anchor Tricia Kean speaks with one of the young innovators, who just got a boost from their own school.


"We can use this to break down pollutants," says Xavier Morgan-Lange, CEO of Promethium.

The newly formed company is working on an air purification system of the future. It was recently awarded $250,000 in the Lee Prize competition, put on by UNLV's Lee Business School.


"That was the piece we really needed to get the ball rolling on manufacturing," says Xavier.

Xavier's system aims to not only filter out pollutants in the air, but using UV light, it will actually destroy them. Including COVID-19.

"Instead of capturing viruses and bacteria on the HEPA filter, they are eliminated and de-natured in a constituent and non-harmful form," says Xavier.


Promethium looks to do this on a giant scale, purifying up to 10-times the amount of indoor space compared to other systems on the market.

"We're talking about things like cruise lines or stadiums and hotels and larger venues," says Xavier.


"It was a different way to try to solve a problem," says Leith Martin with UNLV's Troesh Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

He says Promethium received substantial funding because it made such a big impression.

"The reality was, the tech was somewhat vetted. It was based on some pretty significant peer review research and the fact they were getting so much traction in regards to some of the testing they had done initially in solving this problem," says Leith.


In the end, Xavier believes his system will help people feel safe again about visiting large venues. That's a win-win for the public and maybe even more important, businesses.

"They rely on their customers feeling comfortable to come into their establishment and conduct business. Whether that's casinos, hotels, stadiums, you name it," says Xavier.

Promethium is still working on development and hopes to have their system available early next year.