No, I'm not talking about the entomological sequel to Snakes On A Plane. The headline refers to the kind of illnesses you can catch while cooped up in a tin box, five miles above the ground, with a couple hundred other people for an hour or three.

Specifically, I'm referring to a recent article on the London Times website that reported on a "revolutionary new air filter" developed by a small English company named Quest International in conjunction with BAE Systems (an aerospace company).

Here's the summary about how the product works:

Unlike conventional filters, which are designed to sieve out particles from the air as it passes through perforated barriers at high speed, David Hallam, an engineer and founder of Quest International, said that the AirManager used an “avalanche of electrons” emitted in a closed electric field to break down and destroy the atomic structure of any pollutants or germs.

Anyone who seemed to come down with something a day or two after a flight will be glad at the prospect of any breakthrough in stifling transmission of germs on flights. However, where this really gets into our territory is the mention that "the technology is also being considered for use in NHS hospitals as a way to stop the spread of 'superbugs' such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile."

We'll keep an eye on if and how this technology catches on in non-flight applications, health care or otherwise. It's sure to be of interest in a time when contagious disease has a higher-than-normal profile. The link to the full article is below.

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