Far-UVC light found to eradicate airborne viruses in public spaces, offering a low-cost, safe, effective solution for slowing the spread of flu

Researchers from Columbia University have looked into the possibility of using far ultraviolet-C (far-UVC) light as a possible tool to mitigate the risk of airborne-mediated microbial diseases.

  • The researchers reported that continuous low doses of far-UVC light could be enough to affect aerosol-transmitted airborne viruses negatively.
  • The ability of ultraviolet light to kill airborne flu virus particles is a well-known fact. However, conventional UV light sources are deemed to cause cancer and cataracts.
  • For the test, the team released airborne particles of the H1N1 virus into an enclosed test chamber that was designed to simulate human breathing and coughing.
  • Based on the results, continuous low doses of far-UVC light were added afterward, which verified that far-UVC light was able to “efficiently inactivate” more than 95 percent of all the flu virus particles. Far-UVC light can also kill off H1N1.
  • According to researchers, this is because of far-UVC’s ability to penetrate bacteria and viruses and effectively inactivate them. Its strong absorbance in biological materials, however, ensures that far-UVC cannot penetrate outer layers of human skin.

The researchers will be conducting further studies to see the light’s effects on other airborne microbial diseases.

Journal Reference:

Welch D, Buonanno M, Grilj V, Shuryak I, Crickmore C, Bigelow AW, Randers-Pehrson G, Johnson GW, Brenner DJ. FAR-UVC LIGHT: A NEW TOOL TO CONTROL THE SPREAD OF AIRBORNE-MEDIATED MICROBIAL DISEASES. Scientific Reports, 2018; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-21058-w

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