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UVC light inactivates some viruses

We have recently seen the introduction of consumer-based UVC disinfection products. Can we reduce the cost, increase the effectiveness, increase safety, and make the products accessible to countries that face outbreaks like these? Can we easily enable safe UVC disinfection of [evacuated] hospital rooms, airplane cabins, and other public spaces? Ultimately, homes?

Photo of Shari Cheves

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Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) has great potential to prevent bacterial and viral outbreaks, but lamps must monitored to ensure safety and prove their effectiveness. They must be replaced and maintained or they become a false sense of security. The UV lamps were banned in health departments of South Africa as they were incorrectly installed or not well-proven. We need more studies that demonstrate their effectiveness including real-world settings. Air flow is essential. Design standards are essential, asap. 

While current technology uses mercury-based uvc lamps, we also need less toxic solutions. A 2013 article outlines possibilities for LED and xenon lamps for air purification - can any of these be effective for viral inactivation?

Reducing costs on UVC is an obvious problem. Perhaps pursuing LED technology which has dropped in price is more optimistic. The current design/technology requires more money and skilled maintenance than is practical in many environments. Any ideas?



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Photo of Troy Smith

these are great ideas and they can all be improved. The improvement is to design the system to insure proper disinfection. In some cases the UV can be harmful or not effective if it is not designed to the application correctly. We are working on an LED system right now which will work. Much work is needed and input from the medical community to understand the objectives and needs to insure proper manufacturing

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