New Inhaler Developed to Protect Lungs Against Air Pollution

inhaler for air pollution
Science & Medicine

According to recent reports, more people die from air pollution than malaria and HIV/AIDS. The statistics show that 3 million people die prematurely each year from the toxic air, and the number could double by 2050 if no efforts are made to stabilize it. In the realm of good news on this issue, scientists have now created an inhaler that could help protect your lungs from the deadliest effects of air pollution. [1]

The inhaler, which is expected to be available over the counter, allows the user to inhale a specific molecule called ectoine. The molecule is rooted in a bacteria found in the Egyptian desert and helps stabilize the water on the surface of the lungs which forms a protective layer against the air pollution.

The inhaler has already been tested in small groups of patients who are very susceptible to complications due to air pollution because of pre-existing conditions like asthma, COPD, and bronchitis. Thus far, the results have been positive and researchers expect to publish the results in the coming months.

Dr. Andreas Bilstein, who works for the German company, Bitop, which is set to create the product, says of its use:

“It is quite an inert molecule that does one main thing, which is bind water, which stabilises cell membrane tissues against physical or chemical damage.

Damage cannot occur as strongly and there is less inflammatory response, and so disease progression is reduced. The perfect situation is that the patient inhales in the morning and evening at home.” [1]

Because it is a medical device and not a drug, it is not required to undergo extensive trials. As such, it could be on the market relatively soon, once worldwide distributors are chosen. Currently, it is confirmed that the product will go on sale sometime this year in Germany and Poland.

Doctors, however, argue that this doesn’t mean that law makers should cease trying to protect their citizens from the effects of air pollution. Instead, they should continue their work so that the need for such a product will decrease.

Earlier this month, a report surfaced stating that toxic air pollution particles can be found in the brain tissue of deceased people who lived in heavily polluted areas during their lifetime. This leads to magnetite in the brain, which can be particularly toxic in that location of the body. Not only do 3 million people die per year from air pollution, but the problem has also been recently linked to mental illness, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. What’s more, it can contribute to heart and lung disease and premature strokes.

Hopefully this inhaler will give people the necessary protection against these toxic air particles until we can better


[1] The Guardian