The same light bulbs used in workplaces and commercial premises, according to a recent study from the U of T Scarborough, can destroy coronaviruses and HIV.
UV-LED lamps, which can alternate between white light and disinfecting ultraviolet (UV) light, have been used to eliminate both viruses.
According to Christina Guzzo, lead author of the study, they can also be integrated with many ordinary light fixtures, giving them a “unique appeal” for common areas.
UV-LED lamps to kill the coronavirus
(Photo: CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
SARS-CoV-2 is a closed, unsegmented, positive-sense RNA virus that is responsible for the current global COVID-19 pandemic.
It is usually transmitted through respiratory secretions produced by speaking, coughing and sneezing.
Indirect methods of transmission, including airborne and surface transfers, are also plausible, especially since SARS-CoV-2 can survive for up to 72 hours in aerosols and on surfaces.
Effective cleaning measures can help minimize the transmission of the virus in elevated environments, including hospitals, other healthcare facilities and public transportation systems.
According to the current global COVID-19 pandemic, appropriate disinfection technology for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can help reduce viral spread now or in the future, study says UV inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 across the UVC spectrum: KrCl* excimer, mercury vapor and light-emitting diode (LED) sources
UVC irradiation (200 to 280 nm) has been shown to be effective for viral clearance.
However, based on testing safety criteria, which are limited to biosafety level 3 (BSL3) facilities, there is little information available for SARS-CoV-2.
In commercial, public, transit, and healthcare settings, UV light is a useful tool to prevent the transmission of respiratory infections and protect public health.
The effectiveness of different UV wavelengths in killing infections, particularly SARS-CoV-2, needs to be determined in order to aid attempts to manage the current global pandemic of COVID-19 and potential respiratory infections caused by the coronavirus.
SARS-CoV-2 can be effectively inactivated using a wide range of UVC wavelengths, with 222nm providing the highest cleaning efficiency.
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Advantages and disadvantages of balanced UV
Despite the fact that the lights left a tiny fraction of the virus alive, Guzzo refers to the “Swiss cheese model” of COVID defense.
Every anti-spread approach has flaws, but every layer provides another opportunity to intercept stray virus particles.
Regular exposure to UV light is key to collecting these missing particles, and it’s as easy as flipping a switch.
A bulb is also easier to replace than an air filter system.
UV LEDs are inexpensive and easy to install in existing fixtures, according to Guzzo, and the bulbs are long-lasting and easy to maintain.
Automation also helps with lighting. While the procedure of washing surfaces with antibacterial agents offers the potential for human error, light can be provided in a regulated, antimicrobial amount every time.
As hands are cleaned and wipes are discarded, toxins and waste from these sanitizers end up in watersheds and landfills.
However, the lights are not harmless and there is no need to wear sunscreen and visors: UV rays degrade nucleic acid and continued exposure is dangerous.
That’s why Guzzo recommended turning on lights when open slots are unoccupied, such as deserted buses that have completed their journey or empty elevators moving between floors.
By installing UV lamps in the underground part of the track and cleaning it, the handrails of the escalators could be permanently cleaned.
Related article: The LED could be used to purify water in remote areas
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