This idea concerns Covid-19. Since the Covid-19 campaign no longer exists here, I have no recourse but to post this idea, and many others, in the five current campaigns which still exist here.
It appears that DHS no longer reviews ideas that are submitted on this site. I hope they will disprove this assumption by communicating with me on each of my ideas and directly address any potential which they may have.
My idea follows.
The following concept, involving the use of negative ions (created by small, wearable negative ion generators), has the potential to greatly limit the airborne transmission of Covid-19 within indoor settings. More specifically, it involves the immediate air space of a person's mouth and nose while indoors.
In a nutshell, the negative ions weigh down any particulates in the air (including microorganisms) and cause them to fall to the ground. Furthermore, there is research which indicates that negative ions can kill viruses outright. If the negative ions from negative ion generators can indeed have these effects, they have great potential for limiting the exposure of people in buildings to any airborne Covid-19 in the area. It is the indoor environment where the threat from airborne transmission is the highest, as Covid-19 does not do well in sunlight or in hot temperatures.
Stand-alone negative ion generators, made primarily for home use, have been in existence for many years. Of particular interest in presenting this idea are the versions companies have made which can be worn around the neck, as shown here: https://www.npr.org/2016/05/12/477836061/in-polluted-india-negative-ion-necklaces-vow-to-help-you-breathe-easier ; http://www.businessworld.in/article/Air-Tamer-A-310-The-Personal-Air-Purifier-Device-Review/16-08-2019-174880/ ; https://thegadgetflow.com/portfolio/wearable-air-purifier/ ; https://newatlas.com/sponsored-content/air-purifier-airbox-portable-indoor/ ; https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/constantinnov/airbox-more-powerful-than-hepa-purifiers (small, but not designed for wearing; this one also incorporates UV light).
Negative ion generators have been mentioned very sparsely during the Covid-19 pandemic, even with the reported benefits. Despite their negligible use, to date, there is sufficient research available (see later text) to suggest that active consideration of them in a smaller, portable form as a viable weapon against Covid-19 is merited.
As indicated above, various companies have already invented wearable negative ion generators. It is unknown whether or not these devices, if used as intended, would actually work. In determining what would work, two specific concerns should be kept in mind. First, we would want enough negative ions in the vicinity of a person's mouth and nose on a constant basis to greatly inhibit the inhalation of live Covid-19 (in case a wearer is not infected). This desired coverage area would be less than what is needed for exhalations. Ideally, with a wearable negative ion generator, any Covid-19 lingering in the air would have already been neutralized if it had drifted near the face. This assumes an indoor environment without a fan blowing nearby, or situations where a person is not walking. Walking would quickly bring a person into new "environments" where any wearable negative ion device would not have time to have an effect on inhaled (or exhaled) air. Second, in cases where a wearer is already infected, we would want coverage in the area beyond the mouth and nose where any virus particles from at least shallow or deep exhalations, or speaking, can be expected to reach before they attain a "lingering" or "drifting" status. This would seem to pose more of a challenge than coverage of inhalations. It seems reasonable to assume that the immediate dispersal area of a shallow or deep exhalation, or the act of speaking, would be considerably less than that of a sneeze or cough. But once something has been expelled into the air, irrespective of the velocity in which it was done, it can stay in the air and eventually waft away many feet away from the person who exhaled. As indicated above, this means we should strive for coverage of any area where an exhalation would tend to start lingering, while the person exhaling is sitting or standing still. Thus, a larger coverage area than what would be needed for inhalations. It would be too much to expect coverage of cough and sneeze particles; such acts can be addressed by another unique strategy (not discussed here).
Having concluded that we need a coverage area to address exhalations and speaking, which would likely surpass the coverage area needed for inhalations, we would also have to consider whether or not a person is wearing a mask or respirator. Since there is no guarantee that a person wearing the proposed device will simultaneously be wearing a face covering, the goal should be to address an uncovered face. However, if exhalations of people wearing face coverings escape from the sides, the trajectories of such exhalations should also be taken into account.
I have thus far suggested avenues for study. It is unknown as of this writing whether or not the current portable negative ion generators on the market, where negative ion generators rest on the chest, would meet these expectations. If they do, that's great; let's get more of them to the general public and simply adapt them with the design considerations discussed below. However, I suspect they do not meet our expectations. Therefore, I suggest the following: (1) Design a version which can be worn like a telephone headset. In this form, the negative ion generator would be positioned very close to the mouth and nose (similar to where a telephone headset microphone is located), not on the upper chest as in existing models. This should bring maximum protection to where it is needed. However, instead of having one negative ion generator positioned at the end of a headset arm, there would be two headset arms to respectively accommodate negative ion generators. Another option would be to design a version somewhat similar to telephone holders that rest on the shoulder ( http://blog.modernmechanix.com/telephone-holder-is-curved-to-fit-contour-of-shoulder/ ) or chest ( https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/shop/adjustable-neck-smartphone-mount?inventoryCountry=US&color=001&size=ONE%20SIZE&gclid=EAIaIQobChMItqXeoYXL6QIVGMDICh3_bgPCEAQYHCABEgIoDfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&type=REGULAR&quantity=1 ). In these examples, it is envisioned that the negative ion generators would also be positioned close to the mouth and nose. In whatever design is chosen, the negative ion generators should not be directly in front of the mouth and nose. If they are instead positioned to the side a bit, the wearer would be able to eat without having to remove the device. (2) Concurrent with #1, above, studies should be performed on a rough prototype to confirm whether or not sufficient protection is afforded to the wearer (for inhalation) and others nearby (for exhalation). If the latter is a bit deficient and it would be impossible to ramp up the power, research should factor in whether or not any Covid-19 which escaped entrapment or killing during an exhalation would be likely to also survive attempted inhalation by someone nearby who is also wearing a device. (3) If a respected entity concludes after steps #1 and #2 that these devices could indeed be a significant contribution in the fight against Covid-19, I would envision that wearable, high capacity units that do not emit ozone could be mass produced and made available to the public. I would urge that the Federal government put out bids for their manufacture.
I should mention that another one of my concepts concerned the development of a face shield which partially consisted of Far UVC light, which can kill viruses in the air. It might be worthwhile to consider adding Far UVC light in the vicinity of the dual negative ion generators, to form a "wall" that would kill Covid-19 in the process of being inhaled or any Covid-19 which is exhaled. However, for inhalation, we cannot assume that air would enter in a straight line. The inhaled air would come primarily what is in the immediate vicinity of the mouth or nostrils. Therefore, for inhalation purposes, Far UVC lights would have to be positioned far enough away to "paint" the mouth and nose area, covering an area which would contain air that is likely to be inhaled. Thus, it would not be two feet out, but perhaps inches out. The light would also have to be like a spotlight, not a fine and narrow laser outlining a defined area. Since Far UVC does not harm humans, one could argue that it should be pointed directly at the above mentioned facial areas. But to be safe, a side to side illumination (headset arm to headset arm) might be better. As for exhalation, we would need to see if the arrangement for inhalation would address the propulsive nature of an exhalation. An exhalation would need to persist in the immediate vicinity long enough for the Far UVC to have an effect. This may not be possible; research would tell. However, an application of Far UVC to address inhalation might work.
All we need at this stage is for someone to confirm whether or not the overall concept has merit and, if so, initiate efforts for mass production and distribution. If this were to take place, all types of health care settings, work settings and entertainment/dining settings would be much safer for the people who work there. They would also increase public confidence in the safety of such settings and, in turn, increase public patronage at such sites. And that will be a tremendous boost to the economy.
The following are some pertinent links to help consider this concept:
Successful study with viruses: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep11431
Ionizer destroys acinobacter in hospital: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3228-air-ionisers-wipe-out-hospital-infections/
An aircraft ionization system: https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/business-aviation/2015-10-09/ionization-system-removes-pathogens-cabin-air
Active against Salmonella: https://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2000/mar/salm
A listing of studies compiled by a manufacturer: https://www.surroundair.com/negative-ions/
Effective against Newcastle virus: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2130090/pdf/jhyg00043-0066.pdf
Effective with viruses:
Role with antibody treatment:
Use in hospitals:
Example of Bipolar ionization:
Plasmacluster ions – effective against viruses:
A few available products:
Support in Scotland:
Nonthermal Plasma Reactor (Cold Plasma) – an advancec negative ion generator – Effective against viruses:
This discusses only ozone: http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/2020-02/26/content_75747237_4.htm ; https://www.ozonepartner.com/poultry