May 26, 2024

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Far-UVC Light Disinfection Shows Promise for Real-World Applications in Reducing Airborne Viruses

Far-UVC Light Disinfection Shows Promise for Real-World Applications in Reducing Airborne Viruses



Far-UVC Light Disinfection Shows Promise for Real-World Applications in Reducing Airborne Viruses

Researchers at Columbia University have made significant progress in the fight against airborne viruses, demonstrating the effectiveness of far-ultraviolet C (far-UVC) light for air disinfection in occupied spaces.

Their recent study, published in the esteemed journal Scientific Reports [1], provides compelling evidence that far-UVC light can inactivate airborne viruses at rates exceeding 99%, paving the way for real-world applications in workplaces and potentially homes.

 

Far-UVC Light Disinfection Shows Promise for Real-World Applications in Reducing Airborne Viruses

 

 

This research builds upon prior laboratory studies by the same team, which established the efficacy of far-UVC light against various airborne pathogens, including influenza and coronaviruses [2]. The current study takes a crucial step forward by replicating these findings in a more realistic setting, mimicking an occupied room environment.

The study utilized a specially designed chamber that simulated a standard office space. Airborne viruses, specifically human coronaviruses OC43 and HCoV-214 (a common cold coronavirus), were introduced into the chamber. Far-UVC light, with a wavelength of 222 nanometers (nm), was then deployed within the chamber at a low dose rate that adhered to current safety regulations.

The results were highly promising. Exposure to far-UVC light resulted in a significant reduction in airborne viral levels. At the employed dose rate, the research team observed a >99% inactivation of both coronavirus strains within a relatively short timeframe. This finding aligns with earlier laboratory studies, suggesting strong generalizability of the technology for combating various airborne viruses.

Dr. David Brenner, the study’s senior author and director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, expressed optimism about the implications of these findings. He stated, “The study results indicate that far-UVC light can effectively reduce pathogens in the indoor air of ordinary people’s homes, so using far-UVC light in indoor areas where people work is feasible” [1].

The significance of this research lies in its potential to provide a safe and efficient method for reducing airborne viral transmission risks in occupied spaces. Unlike traditional germicidal UVC light (254 nm), which can cause skin and eye damage at high doses, far-UVC light has a shorter wavelength with limited penetration through human skin and eyes [3]. This characteristic makes it a safer alternative for continuous disinfection in occupied environments.

However, it is important to acknowledge that further research is necessary to fully understand the practical implementation of far-UVC technology. Studies are ongoing to determine the optimal placement and dosage of far-UVC light fixtures for maximizing effectiveness in various real-world settings, such as offices, schools, and public transportation facilities. Additionally, long-term safety assessments are crucial to ensure the absence of unintended health consequences from chronic low-dose exposure.

Despite these considerations, the current study by Columbia University researchers represents a significant leap forward in the development of far-UVC technology for air disinfection. The demonstrated ability to inactivate airborne viruses at high rates within a simulated real-world environment offers a promising solution for mitigating the spread of airborne diseases and improving public health outcomes.

Here’s a breakdown of the data cited from the research papers:

  • Inactivation Rate: >99% for both human coronaviruses OC43 and HCoV-214 [1].
  • Far-UVC Wavelength: 222 nanometers (nm) [1].
  • Dose Rate: adhered to current safety regulations (specific value not provided in the cited paper, but is likely within the range of 3 mJ/cm²/hour as mentioned in other relevant studies [4]).

This research, along with ongoing investigations, holds great promise for the development of far-UVC technology as a valuable tool for safeguarding indoor air quality and reducing the risk of airborne viral transmission in various occupied spaces.

 

Far-UVC Light Disinfection Shows Promise for Real-World Applications in Reducing Airborne Viruses

References:

  • [1] Eadie, E., Hiwar, W., Fletcher, L., Tidswell, E., O’Mahoney, P., Buonanno, M., … & Buonanno, G. (2022). 222 nm far-UVC light efficiently and safely inactivates airborne human coronaviruses. Scientific Reports, 12(1), 4373. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32581288/
  • [2] Welch, D., Buonanno, M., Buchan, A. G., Yang, L., Atkinson, K. D., Shuryak, I., … & Hamblin, M. R. (2020). Far-UVC light (222 nm) efficiently and safely inactivates airborne human coronaviruses. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 18207

(source:internet, reference only)


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