Ionic Air Purifiers & The Bird Flu Myth

Air purifiers, more specifically the right ionic air purifier, will be an essential tool in protecting you from the much feared bird flu pandemic, we say.

Relax, bird flu pandemic is nothing more than an urban legend, says Professor Philip Alcabes, professor of urban public health at the University of New York. In a Washington Post press article on 15 Mar 2009, he debunks as 5 myths the 5 major thoughts motivating health authorities, namely:

(1) Infectious diseases are spreading faster than ever

(2) To learn how to prevent a pandemic, look to the past

(3) We should brace ourselves for another Spanish flu

(4) The annual flu season is nothing compared to a pandemic

(5) There’s no such thing as being too prepared.

Relax, no way! Says Professor Albert Osterhaus, a Dutch virologist who identified the SARS virus in 2003. In a Straits Times report dated 21 Feb 2009, the professor was quoted saying “What we’re seeing today is unprecedented in history. The virus has spread in Europe, Asia and Africa. It’s still spreading, and it’s not going down. It’s not under control.” Other highlights reported:

(1) More than 60% of the over 400 infected people have died

(2) Most infections have been from bird to man but all it takes is a slight virus mutation to make human-to-human transmission possible

(3) When that happens and if its not controlled in 4 weeks, then it’s “out of the box” pandemonium

(4) Its illusory to think a full-blown outbreak can be contained as incubation is short, onset is rapid, infectivity early.

That’s apocalypse stuff, a stark contrast to Professor Alcabe!

As usual, we in the middle are none the wiser when two bigwig professors disagree. So, to buy or not to buy an ionic air purifier? And which is the best air purifier?

Remember, most health authorities believe the best course of action is keeping alert for emerging flu strains and preparation by having vaccines. In our view, they ignore the right ionic air purifier, to our peril.

Countries, like Japan and Switzerland, are already doing pre-pandemic priming. That’s the process of giving the first of 2 vaccine doses to key frontline personnel (medical healthcare workers, police, military men). There will then be no time lost in giving them the critical second dose when a pandemic breaks out. No mention of using ionic air purifiers anywhere.

Governments have to prioritise vaccines. It seems sensible that, we should use products like an ionic air purifier while we await our jabs, which may take a while. Not just any but the right ionic air purifier.

Authorities typically shy away from endorsing any commercial product. Why? Even vaccines are commercially produced. There is no lack of other precedence. For example, this US government site openly endorses several commercial brands.

Such governmental endorsement mitigates confusion when people panic. It also reduces the inevitable hoarding and profiteering that rears up whenever widespread crisis occurs.

We hope that despite stretched resources, governments will assign people to test the claims made by commercial organizations. Apart from essentials like face masks, respirators (e.g. N95) and anti-contaminant handwashes, air purifiers (especially ionic air purifiers) which are claimed by manufacturers (like Sharp plasmacluster ions) to be 99.9% effective against the H5N1 virus immediately come to mind as a priority stand-by appliance to have.

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  • Qaz

    Do you have any peer review studies demonstrating ionic air purifier benefits for mammals challenged by any influenza virus compared with unprotected mammals? Editorials, commentaries, and adds are interesting, but on these life and death issues, people don't want to waste money on ionic air purifiers without evidence-basad assurance that people and/or test animals exposed to highly contagious (currently, seasonal flu) viruses will, infact, be protected from infections. This blog should either present or solicit citations to meaningful tests rather than merely “preach to the choir by merely quoting highly-credible sources re: the gravity of today's pandemic threat. Please disclose the hard data and/or the need for scientific data demonstrating the tested value of ionic air purifiers against seasonal flu viruses and/or HPAI (highly pathological avian influenza) viruses. Readers want to see evidence, not advertising.

  • http://www.ionic-airpurifiers.com/ Min En

    Thanks for your very detailed and useful comments.

    This blog is not advertising since we are not affiliated to any brand of purifiers, Sharp included.

    I am equally anxious to see scientific evidence of any commercial product that makes bold claims.

    You will see from my post on Safety of Ionic Air Purifiers ( see http://www.ionic-airpurifiers.com/ionic-air-pur… ) that I have a very healthy skepticism about ionic air purifiers.

    My readers will note the detail I went into questioning the safety to human tissue of not only any harmful by-products of any ionic air purifier technology but I question even the beneficial reactive agents as well, be it negative ions, bipolar ions or plasmacluster ions. No one on the web seems to consider these two distinct safety aspects in their ionic air purifier reviews.

    For the record, at his juncture, I am not recommending any particular brand or model.

    By way of background, my blog has its basis in the fear I saw in my country in 2003 when SARS hit and killed 33 people.

    What actually started me writing was Sharp's bold announcement that its air purifier had a 99.9% efficacy in eliminating the H5N1 virus in the laboratory ( see http://www.ionic-airpurifiers.com/plasmacluster… ).

    Before anyone reading this rushes out to buy a Sharp air purifier, the lab test was done using an ion generator spewing 50,000 ions/cm3. As far as I know, this ion generator is not commercially available at this time.

    But imagine having a safe haven at home, or at work while the bird or any other harmful virus is rampaging. I would certainly welcome it. During the SARS crisis, wearing the N95 for long hours prove to be quite unbearable, especially in the humid conditions in Singapore.

    Writing the blog also led me to read more about the bird flu pandemic. I realized that governments are making intensive preparations. But what surprised me (but not you or your readers, I am sure) was that they will not be vaccinating everyone and there will be a priority scheme. There will be a long queue.

    I also realized that no authority is making any provisions for air purifiers, whether for public buildings or for individual families in their homes. This is despite corporations like Sharp and the Korean Seung Chang Airtek Co (among many others I'm sure I'll find in due course) claiming that their air purifiers are effective against the bird flu virus.

    Digging deeper into the Sharp annoucement on 27 Aug 2008 (http://www.sharp-world.com/corporate/news/08082…), you will see that Sharp's claim has been verified by:

    “Professor John Oxford is Scientific Director of Retroscreen Virology Ltd and Professor of Virology at St Bartholomew’s and the Royal London Hospital, Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry. He has co-authored two standard texts: ‘Influenza, the Viruses and the Disease' with Sir Charles Stuart-Harris and G.C. Schild and most recently, “Human Virology, a Text for Students of Medicine, Dentistry and Microbiology”, published by Oxford University Press. Professor Oxford has also published 250 scientific papers. His research interest is the pathogenicity of influenza, in particular the 1918 Spanish Influenza strain. This research has been featured on Science TV programmes recently in the UK, USA, Germany and Holland.”

    Impressive credentials but not necessarily enough like you say, in life-and-death issues. I can't agree more.

    Furthermore, Ms. Susan Chu of http://www.newfluwiki2.com ( see http://www.newfluwiki2.com/showDiary.do?diaryId… ) has also pointed out to me that whilst Sharp's claims have been presented at various conferences, it has not been peer-reviewed. I agree it is critical that such bold claims have to be checked out.

    But my point is – how do we turn skepticism of commercial claims into proactive energy to urge governments or whoever has the resources to check out these claims?

    Lay persons have no way of verifying the bold claims of big corporations. Governments must step in with their resources to test the claims, so that the masses can benefit when the real test comes.

    After all, governments have endorsed other commercially-produced anti-bird flu products such as:

    (1) the N95 respirator is produced by 3M Corporation
    see http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW0163

    (2) the Tamiflu vaccine is produced by Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant.

    Why won't they look at an ionic air purifier, or more specifically an ion generator, that can provide a much safer environment, be it at work or at home?

    I believe there is something of hope, quite apart from huge profits, in the bold claims by Sharp. If the claims are real, I do not begrudge Sharp their profits just as I do not for Roche or 3M. Merit deserves to be rewarded. Commercialization is not always a dirty word.

    For the good of all of us, I hope there will be some among my readers who are in positions to influence those in authority to check out the claims about ionic air purifiers and generators, be they from Sharp, Seung Chang Airtek Co or whoever.

    Thank you.

  • http://www.ionic-airpurifiers.com/ Min En

    Thanks for your very detailed and useful comments.

    This blog is not advertising since we are not affiliated to any brand of purifiers, Sharp included.

    I am equally anxious to see scientific evidence of any commercial product that makes bold claims.

    You will see from my post on Safety of Ionic Air Purifiers ( see http://www.ionic-airpurifiers.com/ionic-air-pur… ) that I have a very healthy skepticism about ionic air purifiers.

    My readers will note the detail I went into questioning the safety to human tissue of not only any harmful by-products of any ionic air purifier technology but I question even the beneficial reactive agents as well, be it negative ions, bipolar ions or plasmacluster ions. No one on the web seems to consider these two distinct safety aspects in their ionic air purifier reviews.

    For the record, at his juncture, I am not recommending any particular brand or model.

    By way of background, my blog has its basis in the fear I saw in my country in 2003 when SARS hit and killed 33 people.

    What actually started me writing was Sharp's bold announcement that its air purifier had a 99.9% efficacy in eliminating the H5N1 virus in the laboratory ( see http://www.ionic-airpurifiers.com/plasmacluster… ).

    Before anyone reading this rushes out to buy a Sharp air purifier, the lab test was done using an ion generator spewing 50,000 ions/cm3. As far as I know, this ion generator is not commercially available at this time.

    But imagine having a safe haven at home, or at work while the bird or any other harmful virus is rampaging. I would certainly welcome it. During the SARS crisis, wearing the N95 for long hours prove to be quite unbearable, especially in the humid conditions in Singapore.

    Writing the blog also led me to read more about the bird flu pandemic. I realized that governments are making intensive preparations. But what surprised me (but not you or your readers, I am sure) was that they will not be vaccinating everyone and there will be a priority scheme. There will be a long queue.

    I also realized that no authority is making any provisions for air purifiers, whether for public buildings or for individual families in their homes. This is despite corporations like Sharp and the Korean Seung Chang Airtek Co (among many others I'm sure I'll find in due course) claiming that their air purifiers are effective against the bird flu virus.

    Digging deeper into the Sharp annoucement on 27 Aug 2008 (http://www.sharp-world.com/corporate/news/08082…), you will see that Sharp's claim has been verified by:

    “Professor John Oxford is Scientific Director of Retroscreen Virology Ltd and Professor of Virology at St Bartholomew’s and the Royal London Hospital, Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry. He has co-authored two standard texts: ‘Influenza, the Viruses and the Disease' with Sir Charles Stuart-Harris and G.C. Schild and most recently, “Human Virology, a Text for Students of Medicine, Dentistry and Microbiology”, published by Oxford University Press. Professor Oxford has also published 250 scientific papers. His research interest is the pathogenicity of influenza, in particular the 1918 Spanish Influenza strain. This research has been featured on Science TV programmes recently in the UK, USA, Germany and Holland.”

    Impressive credentials but not necessarily enough like you say, in life-and-death issues. I can't agree more.

    Furthermore, Ms. Susan Chu of http://www.newfluwiki2.com ( see http://www.newfluwiki2.com/showDiary.do?diaryId… ) has also pointed out to me that whilst Sharp's claims have been presented at various conferences, it has not been peer-reviewed. I agree it is critical that such bold claims have to be checked out.

    But my point is – how do we turn skepticism of commercial claims into proactive energy to urge governments or whoever has the resources to check out these claims?

    Lay persons have no way of verifying the bold claims of big corporations. Governments must step in with their resources to test the claims, so that the masses can benefit when the real test comes.

    After all, governments have endorsed other commercially-produced anti-bird flu products such as:

    (1) the N95 respirator is produced by 3M Corporation
    see http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW0163

    (2) the Tamiflu vaccine is produced by Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant.

    Why won't they look at an ionic air purifier, or more specifically an ion generator, that can provide a much safer environment, be it at work or at home?

    I believe there is something of hope, quite apart from huge profits, in the bold claims by Sharp. If the claims are real, I do not begrudge Sharp their profits just as I do not for Roche or 3M. Merit deserves to be rewarded. Commercialization is not always a dirty word.

    For the good of all of us, I hope there will be some among my readers who are in positions to influence those in authority to check out the claims about ionic air purifiers and generators, be they from Sharp, Seung Chang Airtek Co or whoever.

    Thank you.