A FORMER Timperley man has been watching as scientific equipment he designed and invented has been helping to battle the coronavirus crisis around the world.

Paul Atherton may have been retired for a couple of years but his work as a lead engineer and designer of mass spectrometers is being used to run testing of samples of the virus as well as coming up with a vaccine.

The 67-year-old has been involved with thermo instruments since 1978 and his work has taken him around the world, including a spell in San Jose.

He said: “I would have loved to go back and done my work but I cannot. I keep in touch with the engineers and workmates and they say they would love to have me back.

“The work I have done is a very important application that can produce thousands of tests and they have been managing to do around 300,000 a day in America, while we have just reached 100,000 here.

“The vaccine spectrometer is one of the designs. They are using an electrostatic ionisation method of sampling and it is working on what was linear ION trap.They have developed quick methods of sampling the virus. Then it is put in solvent and it is injected to an inlet system and analysed for detection. They can tell if there is an abundance of the virus in anyone’s sample or any trace. It can be left overnight to do lots of tests.

“It is doing the analysis to try to find a vaccine.

“I was always proud that I was involved in the scientific revolution, developing cures for Sars and other diseases, and I have got 17 patents and we achieved awards for making the best instruments in the world.

“I am sure they will be able to get vaccines sorted, as they did with other pandemics such as Sars in China, four or five years ago.”

He started at VG Instruments in Broadheath and moved to Wythenshawe. ThermoFisher Scientific Instruments acquired VG Analytical . Then in 2005 VG Analytics was sold off to Waters Instruments.

He was then offered the chance to go to USA, in 1998, and worked there until 2016.