Does UV-C Light Kill SARS/Novel Corona Virus?

Ultraviolet light has been used to stop pathogens in their tracks for decades. But does it work against SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the pandemic?

The short answer is YES. But it takes the right kind of UV Light, in the right dosage.

UV radiation can be classified into three types based on wavelength: UVA, UVB and UVC. Nearly all the UV radiation that reaches Earth is UVA, because most of UVB and all of UVC light is absorbed by the ozone layer, according to the CDC.

And it’s only UV-C, which has the shortest wavelength and the highest energy, that can act as a true disinfectant.

UVC at a specific wavelength, 254 nanometers, has been successfully used to inactivate H1N1 influenza and other Corona Viruses, such as severe acute respiratory virus (SARS-CoV) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).  A study published June 26, 2020 in medRxiv now confirms that UVC also eliminates SARS-CoV-2 (now popularly referred to simply as ‘The Corona Virus’)

UVC-254 works because this wavelength causes lesions in DNA and RNA. Enough exposure to UVC-254 damages the DNA and RNA of the virus itself, so that they can’t replicate, effectively killing or inactivating a microorganism/virus.

Principle of UV sterilization

This makes UV-C  an invaluable tool amid the pandemic.

UV-C kills the virus,  period; but the caveat is to get enough dose of UVC-254 nm to eliminate SARS-CoV-2. This kind of power and frequency accuracy isn’t possible with the most devices.

The evaluation tests conducted At Yamaguchi University Japan, confirm the high effectiveness of UV-C sterilization.

Relative comparison of sterilization performance by UV-C irradiation

Relative comparison of sterilization performance by wavelength (280nm = 1)

In times of the Coronavirus pandemic, seriously addressing the viral issue has become top priority for hospitals, airlines, cruiseships, and institutions in general. Disinfection robots are at the technology forefront of this battle and are posed to play a potentially game-changing role in these environments where sanitation and disease-spread control are paramount.

It takes between 10 to 15 minutes to disinfect a typical hospital room, with a UV-C robot spending one or two minutes in five or six different positions around the room to maximize the number of surfaces that it disinfects. The robot’s UV-C array emits 20 joules per square meter per second of 254-nanometer light at 1 meter distance, which destroys 99.99% of germs, including COVID-19.

While nobody can know for certain when, if ever, an effective vaccine will be developed to combat the Coronavirus, UV-C 254 nw robots may well be the best hope towards thwarting the wanton spread of this novel and debilitating disease.

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