A SCOTS physicist and engineer who is calling for ionisers to be examined as a weapon in the battle against Covid-19 has presented two of them to his local pharmacy in Inverness.

Pete Gavin bought a dozen of the devices online after The National reported last week about the strength of his belief in two sets of research, from Leeds and Sweden, which showed how they cleaned air of bacteria and viruses, as well as dust and pollen.

He said the non-biological, non-chemical solution could also work for the coronavirus and, more importantly, could help protect NHS staff who are in close proximity to patients.

Gavin, who helped force a health board U-turn on a cardiac rehabilitation centre in Inverness two years ago, yesterday presented two of the ionisers to the city’s Lochardil Pharmacy to protect staff there.

He told The National: “I decided to take action on this directly. I use the pharmacy regularly, and it struck me that workers are very exposed as there is a constant flow of people coughing out potentially infectious aerosol.

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“The scientific evidence seems to be, for bacterial and viral, flu and noro, that negative-ion ionisers have greater than 97% success rate at reducing infectivity in that type of situation.

“As someone who understands just a little bit about how they work, I think it is virtually beyond reason that Covid-19 aerosol would not be impacted in a similar fashion.

“If we wait to run trials, what are we going to do – run them in one hospital and not another and then decide comparatively how many sick and dead medics could have been avoided?

“We should take action on this now by getting the Government to review it. This is a solution to infectious aerosol that likely works for Covid-19.

“It will work to protect those that are not yet infected.

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“In a home situation where your household is isolated, don’t run them constantly, it is not needed, and some of the effects they have on the air are not recommended, but in light of a deadly disease spread by viral aerosol we have to take emergency measures for our NHS medics, and frontline workers, working in an enclosed environment of constant exposure.”

Ionisers work by releasing negative ions into the air. These attach themselves to positive ions such as dust, pollen, or bacteria and viruses, increasing their weight and causing them to fall to the ground.

While the air is cleaned, the surfaces on which they fall have to be disinfected manually. Gavin has also sent two of the machines to his mother’s care home in Edinburgh, and a senior academic at Liverpool University is planning to raise their use with the NHS.

Jay Hinton, a professor of microbial pathogenesis, told Gavin in an email: “I am going to raise this with some NHS contacts in Liverpool.

“It would be useful to know where you sourced the negative-ion ionisers that you have just purchased, and how expensive they were.”

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Gavin added: “It’s fantastic to hear that Professor Hinton is able to refer the available research on trials through his channels for consideration. That is what medics and carers need now, not after the usual further prolonged trials. It is an emergency situation.

“What are the risks and what are the possible benefits? We need to get this in place asap.

“This is proven direct electronic air sanitation – not biological or chemical – that works before the personal protective equipment (PPE) barrier.

“We urgently need to drive government to review the key scientific papers.”

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