Scientists are working hard to determine Using UV Light to Fight COVID-19 Spread
Research indicates that germicidal lamp COVID usage can effectively kill airborne microbes transmitting measles, tuberculosis, and SARS-CoV-1, a close relative of the novel coronavirus. Currently, with concern building up that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 may be easily transmitted through microscopic floating particles called aerosols, some researchers and physicians hope the technology can be recruited again to assist in disinfecting high-risk indoor settings.
Research shows close to 90% of airborne particles from a previous coronavirus (SARS-CoV-1) can be eliminated in about 16 seconds when exposed to the same strength of UV as that used for handheld UV light sterilization. Other viruses like the adenovirus, are more resistant and need a higher dose of UV light.
Although it is not perfect, it probably provides the best solution for direct air disinfection in the current pandemic. According to several studies, upper-room GUV is about 80% effective against the spread of airborne tuberculosis when used with proper ventilation. That is the same as replacing the air in a room up to 24 times an hour.
Widespread adoption of UV systems similar to those used in a handheld UV sterilizer could be an uphill battle. In the U.S., interest in using UV for air disinfection has waned in recent decades as scientists focused their attention on powerful vaccines and drugs to deal with infectious diseases.
Understanding Aerosols and Airborne Transmission
UV can be a powerful weapon against any airborne virus. However, it can go only so far toward preventing infection.
People can still get sick from the larger, heavier droplets emitted via coughs and sneezes. They can directly inhale those droplets or touch a surface contaminated with them, and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth to transmit infection.
UV also does not prevent someone from being affected by infectious aerosols that have just emerged from an infected person. In such a scenario, the person inhales a very concentrated cloud of these tiny particles that you cannot see.
Therefore, even if there is upper-room UV in a building, face masks, and social distancing are still necessary to block larger respiratory droplets and remove some aerosols in the near space. However, there is enough evidence to show that coronavirus aerosols can hang in the air and spread throughout a room (“the far-field”). It is time to take that airborne spread seriously.
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