Since the outbreak of Covid-19, scientists and engineers have been scrambling to find vaccines, treatments, and preventative measures to help stop the spread of the disease and help treat people who became infected.
This microscopic virus has put healthcare systems and their supply chains under an unprecedented strain. Hospitals across the world have been looking for more efficient ways to clean and sanitize equipment and their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Ultraviolet light (or UV) has been used for sanitization for many years, and engineers and health workers soon began to look at how UV light can be used to combat Covid-19. Can UV light kill the Covid-19 virus? Can UV light be used for more than just cleaning equipment and PPE? Here we are going to take a closer look at what role ultraviolet light could play in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
How Does UV Light Clean and Sanitize?
Ever heard the saying ‘sunlight is the best disinfectant’? This is nearly the truth. We have created a number of high-power chemicals that can do a better disinfecting job than sunlight, but these come with a number of drawbacks.
The light we see is in the visible spectrum of light. Outside of this spectrum is light like infra-red light, that we use for remote controls in television and in ‘night-vision’, and ultraviolet light. Exposure to ultraviolet light is known to be harmful, which is why we use sunscreen to protect our skin from the sun. Though it takes prolonged exposure to cause damage to our skin, bacteria and viruses can be neutralized by exposure to UV light very quickly.
Is UV Light Effective Against Covid-19?
UV light has been shown to be highly effective against human coronaviruses, the same type of virus as Covid-19. Preliminary studies suggest that UV has the same effectiveness against Covid-19 specifically, though it is important to note that full-scale commercial trials are yet to take place until samples of the virus are made available for testing.
Hospitals and clinics have been using UV light sources, as well as other disinfectant measures, to clean equipment, particularly their PPE, and have seen a high rate of success. UV light will be one of the many tools used to combat Covid-19 in the near future, and may become a much more common sight in many places.
How Will UV Light Be Used in the Future?
In public spaces, hygiene has become of paramount concern. Many stores and businesses are asking patrons and workers to sanitize their hands regularly and upon entering their premises, and more and more people are wearing PPE in public spaces.
The use of ultraviolet lamps at home and in businesses to sanitize PPE, and even our hands, will become more common. The supply chains for hand sanitizer and disinfectants were incredibly strained during the initial stages of the outbreak, and UV light offers a low cost and reusable alternative to liquid chemicals and wipes.
There will be many challenges in the future because of Covid-19, but we have the technology and tools we need to combat the virus and protect ourselves and our families.
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