Would you snort a plasma lamp to fight the common cold? Don't laugh - plasma balls may be trippy to you but they're downright deadly to viruses.
According to scientists, cold plasma (basically a stream of ionized gas) can actually prevent viruses from replicating:
Dr Julia Zimmermann, from the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany, found that when exposed to cold plasma for 240 seconds, almost all the viruses were inactivated – just one in a million viruses was able to replicate.
She said: "Cold plasmas are potentially a very effective agent for control of viral infections.
"There are hopes that cold plasmas can become an effective tool in hospital hygiene."
The researchers are already working on developing the technique to treat respiratory infections and have received approval to test the device in animal models.
They believe that, in the long term, plasma could be inhaled directly into the lungs to treat viruses. Illnesses such as the common cold are difficult to treat and patients have to rely on their immune systems to fight off the infections.