20th September 2020 | Abuja - PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY- NO EVIDENCE ON BENEFIT OF ‘AIR DOCTOR’ TAGS AGAINST COVID-19
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is aware of the wrong use of body worn labels or tags often marketed as ‘Air Doctor’ by members of the public. There is no scientific evidence that these tags can protect individuals from getting infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
NCDC’s advice is that anyone that chooses to wear these tags, should continue to adhere to the other non-pharmaceutical interventions, which we know reduces the risk of transmission of the virus.
On the other hand, there is evidence that non-pharmaceutical measures such as physical distancing (avoiding crowded places), use of face masks in public settings, frequent hand washing, and respiratory hygiene can reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19.
These body tags are touted as air disinfectant with ability to inactivate any germ within the surrounding of the wearer over a long period of time. We have found no evidence to support the claim that “Air doctor” offers any benefit to the wearer. The active ingredients which are often advertised as chlorine dioxide and sodium chlorite, do not exist in the environment for a long time. Those who wear these body tags often do so as a substitute for facemasks and other recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions. This is unsafe and can contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
In view of the above, NCDC offers the following guidance to members of the public:
There is no scientific evidence that disinfectant tags often known as ‘Air Doctor’ can protect people against COVID-19
The composition and concentration of the active ingredients in ‘Air Doctor’ is ineffective against SARS-CoV-2 which is the virus that causes COVID-19
Chlorine dioxide and its products, which are contained in such tags, can lead to serious health effects, especially in children
Effective and evidence-based preventive measures against COVID-19 are: regular hand washing with soap under running water or use of alcohol-based hand rubs (hand sanitizer), physical distancing of at least 2 metres, wearing of face mask when in public, routine cleaning and disinfection of surfaces at homes and public places and ensuring cross ventilation in indoor settings
The NCDC will continue to provide evidence-based guidelines on COVID-19 prevention and control. We urge the public to adhere to science-based preventive measures as recommended by public health authorities such as the NCDC, State or Federal Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation.
About the NCDC
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is the country’s national public health institute, with the mandate to lead the preparedness, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies. The Bill for an Act to establish NCDC was signed into law in November 2018, by President Muhammadu Buhari. The mission for the NCDC (2017-2021) is ‘To protect the health of Nigerians through evidence-based prevention, integrated disease surveillance and response activities, using a one health approach, guided by research and led by a skilled workforce’.
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Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu
DG, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control