How Effectively Do UV Lights Kill Viruses? As an Engineer, There Are Some Things You Must Know
The recent COVID-19 outbreak has revitalized the use of UV light as a means of disinfection. Since the virus is rapidly spreading over the world, several innovative companies and academic institutions are focusing on developing effective countermeasures. The idea of using ultraviolet light to kill germs has gained popularity, and numerous devices are now available. Companies in the electronics industry aren’t the only ones developing UV sanitization solutions; universities, research labs, startups, etc.
Many of the devices that have gotten it to store shelves boast impressive claims, such as killing 99.9 percent of viruses. The question of whether or not the virus can be killed by the UV lamps remains unanswered.Determine the optimal period for UV exposure and the optimal UV wavelength to destroy viruses. We were curious about the answers to these questions, so we looked into them more. Let’s make an effort to get our heads around this.
What Exactly are UV Lights?
Ultraviolet light consists of a broad spectrum of electromagnetic energy.UV radiation has a defined wavelength range between 100 and 400 nm (1 nm=10-9m) and is therefore not visible to the naked eye. UVC, or far UV (180-280 nm), has gained popularity because of its capacity to help destroy many types of viruses, making it one of the three types of UV lights (the others being UVA, or near UV (315-400 nm) and UVB, or middle UV (280-315 nm).
There is very little UVC that reaches the Earth’s surface since it is totally absorbed by the ozone layer in the atmosphere. As a result, it poses no risk to human health and can be manufactured in a number of ways. Avoiding contact with UVC light sources is essential.
Can UV Lights kill Viruses?
UV light, or more specifically UV-C light, is the only UV light that has been adequately tested to inactivate viruses and destroy bacteria, according to multiple studies, including a recent report from the Illuminating Engineers Society (IES). Germicidal ultraviolet light, also known as UV-C light, is effective in destroying bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms by disrupting their DNA and RNA, rendering them unable to proliferate. However, ultraviolet (UV) A and B lamps can effectively destroy bacteria but have far less of an impact on viruses.
Studies have shown that airborne bacteria that can cause diseases including measles, TB, and SARS-CoV-1 can be successfully inactivated by exposure to UV-C. Hospitals, offices, schools, airports, etc. can all benefit from the usage of UV lamps since they reduce the prevalence of airborne-mediated microbial diseases like influenza and tuberculosis. In layman’s terms, the UV rays are crucial for sterilization and disinfection. Prolonged exposure to UV is lethal for microorganisms since they have less defense against it.
Practical Applications of UV Lights
UV germicidal technology has been found to be extremely useful in a wide variety of settings, including but not limited to healthcare facilities, laboratories, senior centers, transportation hubs, airports, government buildings, schools, offices, and hotels.Air conditioning systems now incorporate UV germicidal technology to kill off disease-causing bacteria and airborne pollutants that can exacerbate existing respiratory issues. Additionally, ultraviolet (UV) lamps can be used to decontaminate industrial exhaust systems and remove hazardous substances from the production process.
Hospitals often employ ultraviolet (UV) lighting. Hospitals typically employ ultraviolet (UV) towers on all newly admitted patients. UV lamps are also used to disinfect the air and surgical instruments in operating rooms. Pathogens that cause illness and impurities that exacerbate asthma and other respiratory disorders are successfully sterilized by germicidal lamps used in air conditioning systems of medical and other establishments.
Viruses are facilitated in their propagation by commercial airplanes. Germs can be spread across continents via airports. As a result, it’s important to implement efficient regular treatment. Scanners that employ ultraviolet light to eliminate bacteria and viruses are increasingly used.
U.S.-based company Dimer UVC Innovations creates UVC light disinfection solutions.A few months ago, the firm unveiled a germ-killing robot called GermFalcon, the first UVC device created to rapidly disinfect the inside surfaces of an aircraft in between flights. In order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the robot disinfects airplanes.
Does UVC Really Destroy Germs?
Strong absorption of UVC by RNA and DNA bases causes molecular structural damage, which in turn destroys a cell’s reproductive capacity.The viruses become inactive and unable to reproduce as a result of this.
“UV light is lethal to bacteria and viruses because of its high frequency that scrambles and damages their nuclear material,” says microbiologist Alex Berezow. It causes fatal changes in the genetic coding of these viruses, which prevents them from reproducing normally.He added that UV light is effective against all forms of life, including bacteria, fungus, viruses, and so on.
The efficiency of UVC relies on a number of factors, including the microbe’s susceptibility to UV, the wavelength of the UV radiation, the length of time the microorganism is exposed to UV, the existence of particles that can shield the bacteria from UV, and so on. The less UVC reaches the object as it moves away from the light source.
The most effective means of producing UVC are low-pressure mercury discharge lamps. About 35% of the power used by these lights is transformed into UVC radiation. As much as 85% of the highest germicidal effect and 80% on the IES curve of radiation are generated at 254 nm.
Advantages of UV Lights
Using ultraviolet (UV) lights for these purposes has been common practice for quite some time for good reason: they’re more effective than certain alternatives. Not only that, but its popularity has skyrocketed in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic. An initial benefit would be its effectiveness against a wide range of microbes, including those that have developed resistance to antibiotics. The process is simple, and no chemicals are used, so no harmful residues are left behind.
Limitations of UV Lights
While ultraviolet (UV) lamps are proven to be effective in eradicating viruses, they are not without their drawbacks; prolonged exposure to this sort of light has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, cataracts, and other health problems. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is a direct antibacterial strategy, with low-pressure mercury-vapor arc lamps emitting around 254 nm being the most often used source.
In recent years, xenon lamps, which produce a broad UV spectrum, have become commonplace. While conventional germicidal UV lamps can be used to clean empty places, they cannot be used in public areas where people are present since direct exposure to their wavelengths is hazardous to the skin and the eyes.
The second drawback of UV lights is that they might be occluded by other objects and only sterilize what is directly in their light path. This means there shouldn’t be anything blocking the path of the UV radiation from reaching the object being disinfected. Multiple UV lamps, each producing UV irradiation from a slightly different direction, can solve this problem.
The wavelength of ultraviolet light (UVC) between 250 and 270 nanometers is considered safer. Ozone at high concentrations poses serious risks to human health, including increased risk of cancer of the lungs, skin disorders, and other ailments. Therefore, considerable caution is required while working with UV products. The UVD robot is from Denmark, and its tube lights individually produce 180 volts, the sweet spot for viral destruction. At ten feet away and ten and a half feet in height, it can destroy a great deal of viruses.
Given the risks associated with UV exposure, there must be trained personnel available to instruct you on how to safely operate UV lamps. In addition, everything should be double-checked. To properly disinfect a surface, you must move the UV light source such that it passes over the area from all 360 degrees.Prior to disinfection, samples must be tested for adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Users should be able to determine when and where a particular UV product is most useful. Whatever is done must be based in science and verified as effective.
When it comes to constraints, there are many that must be addressed. Before using large amounts of UV, it’s important to make sure it won’t produce harmful levels of ozone. Second, as UV travels in a straight path, it is important to verify that the light source in these items is robust. Complete sterilization requires thorough testing and an appropriate air conditioning treatment. Verify the UV light’s authenticity by comparing it to the information provided on the Original Manufacturer Chart (OEM), which should detail the product’s model number, ozone output, etc. The transmission of the virus can be slowed with the help of information sharing and good comprehension.
Upper-Room GUV Air Disinfection
Disinfecting the air in a room with a GUV system is one strategy for reducing the spread of airborne viruses. The air passing through the building is purified by lights installed in the air-handling system. This approach can be used for extended periods of time and is extremely successful because UV-C radiation is not directly exposed to humans in the facility. Furthermore, there are low-cost room fixtures that can disinfect an area of up to 99.9 percent of germs and viruses. Since these fittings are only safe for use while the rooms are vacant, they are not practical for use during occupancy and can cause health problems for the inhabitants.
Can UV Light be Used to kill SARS-CoV-2?
COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus in controlled laboratory circumstances. Previous research has shown that UV-C light with a wavelength of 254 nanometers is effective at killing coronaviruses like H1N1 influenza, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV.
UV-C has been shown to be effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus by Columbia University researcher David Brenner. Lamps that emit continuous, low doses of a specific wavelength of ultraviolet light were developed by the university’s Center for Radiological Research to safely eliminate viruses and bacteria without damaging human skin, eyes, or other tissues. UV-emitting lamps, which Brenner claims may be used in public without endangering people’s health, kill airborne infections before they can be inhaled.
The research group has already found that the technique is effective in killing drug-resistant germs and the airborne H1N1 flu virus. Exposure to far-UVC has not been shown to induce skin or eye damage in any long-term investigations including either animals or people. In addition, UVC technology may serve as a formidable deterrent to future pandemics and epidemics.
There has been much debate about whether or not germ-killing UV light technology will actually work. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increase in the use of ultraviolet (UV) lighting, and the results of this trend are easy to foresee. People are likely to congregate more frequently in enclosed spaces like hospitals, doctor’s offices, schools, public transportation, restaurants, offices, gyms, etc. when the COVID-19 issue subsides. As a result, UVC lights installed overhead will help prevent the spread of the coronavirus by continuously eliminating germs, including the virus itself.
Despite UVC light’s promise as a potent weapon for controlling the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, no one prevention or treatment method has proven to be foolproof. For optimal outcomes, a combination of both tried-and-true methods and innovative new approaches is required.