New kind of ultraviolet light safely kills airborne pathogens
The germicidal properties of ultraviolet C light (UVC) have been known for decades, the radiation's ability to cause sunburn, skin cancer, and harm people's eyes have led to strict controls on its usage, with UVC mostly limited to sterilizing medical equipment.
A new type of ultraviolet light called Far-UVC could dramatically change how we combat the transmission of airborne pathogens in indoor environments.
Researchers say the technology represents a new 'hands off' way of curbing the spread of COVID-19, compared to existing control measures that involve significant changes in people's behaviour – such as abiding by lockdowns, physical distancing, mask-wearing, or getting vaccinated.
Far-UVC rapidly reduces the amount of active microbes in the indoor air to almost zero, making indoor air essentially as safe as outdoor air. And installing Far-UVC lighting in indoor environments could be about as easy as changing a light bulb
The Far-UVC lamps reduced up to 98.4% of the pathogen load in a matter of minutes, and maintained an ambient level of 92% reduction at a level in line with International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection guidelines.
Far-UVC light is simple to install, it's inexpensive, it doesn't need people to change their behaviour, and evidence from multiple studies suggests it may be a safe way to prevent the transmission of any virus, including the COVID virus and its variants, as well as influenza and also any potential future pandemic viruses.