Using UV light to kill viruses like COVID-19

Using UV light to kill viruses like COVID-19


Scientists have known about the disinfection capabilities of ultraviolet (UV) light for decades. Now, it's considered an important tool in the fight against COVID-19.

A scientist at Columbia University found UV-C is effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in laboratory settings.

But the results still leave a lot of questions. What is UV-C? How does it work? Is it safe? We're explaining the answers to those questions and more.

UV-C (also called germicidal UV) products tout pathogen kill rates higher than 99.9%. Because of their effectiveness, they're incredibly useful for hospitals, medical labs, senior care centers, fire and police stations, airports, transit stations, schools, government buildings, office buildings, and hotels.


What is UV-C light?

UV-C (also called germicidal UV) is part of the ultraviolet spectrum that can inactivate pathogens like bacteria and viruses. UV-C utilizes specific wavelengths of the ultraviolet spectrum, typically between 200 to 280 nanometers.


UV-A and UV-B light can also kill some bacteria and germs, but are mostly ineffective against viruses like SARS-CoV-2. The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) recently released a report on germicidal UV that says UV-C is the most effective part of the spectrum.


Can UV light kill COVID-19?

Yes, according to a scientist from Columbia University. Preliminary test results from Dr. David Brenner found UV-C can inactivate COVID-19.

Dr. David Brenner performed tests on secure samples of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. He exposed the samples to UV-C and measured the response after the exposure.

It's also important to note germicidal UV does not replace other cleaning measures like dusting off surfaces. In fact, germicidal UV products cannot penetrate particles like dust, so dirty surfaces will cause effectiveness to drop.


Is germicidal UV light safe?

Similar to the UV-A and UV-B rays from the sun, exposure to UV-C can damage the skin and eyes. It's important to follow strict safety guidelines when the products are operating.

As a basic rule, germicidal UV lamps should not run when anyone is nearby. The IES says there are no reports of long-term damage from an accidental overexposure, but there can be painful temporary consequences.

Only trained workers should handle germicidal UV units and make sure the product is turned off before performing maintenance. Also, you should buy the right light bulb for the right fixture and follow product use guidelines from manufacturers.

Post time: Sep-20-2022
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