An ad for an air and surface purifier has been banned for stating it could destroy coronavirus.
The ad for the Go-Vi Eradicator19, seen on the website protect-nhs.co.uk in November, included the claim “Proven to destroy Coronavirus* cells.”
Text near the bottom of the page stated: “*Go-Vi’s Eradicator19+** air purification system has been tested by independent laboratories and proved to be effective against the following … H5N1 & Coronavirus – a reduction of 5.7 logs (99.9998%) in less than 0.44 seconds in destroying airborne H5N1 avian influenza virus.”
The ad said testing had been carried out by The Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Lyon, France.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated whether the claim that the product could destroy coronavirus cells was misleading and could be substantiated.
Go-Vi told the ASA that its product was effective at destroying Covid-19 and had been tested by a laboratory in Florida which was accredited by the US Centres for Disease Control, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Agriculture, and Florida’s Department of Health.
It said it was no longer promoting the product and that its website was no longer live as a result of a change in its business model.
The ASA said that although the ad did not specifically mention Covid-19, it was seen in the context of the pandemic and consumers would understand it to mean that the device could remove the Covid-19 virus from the air and therefore help protect against infection.
A press release stated that UV light technology made by the manufacturer had shown a greater than 99.999% reduction of the Sars-Cov-2 virus after less than one second.
However, it was unclear if the testing related to the product being advertised, and no details of the study were provided, the ASA said.
“Although the active substance used in the product had been approved, we considered that the testing methodology we had seen was not adequate evidence that the product could destroy viruses on surfaces and in the air, thus decreasing the risk of transmission in a real-world setting. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading and breached the code,” the ASA concluded.
It ruled that the ad must not appear again in the form complained about, adding: “We told Go-Vi Ltd to ensure that they did not state or imply that their air purifier could destroy viruses, including Covid-19, thus decreasing the risk of transmission, if they did not have sufficient evidence to substantiate their claims.”