People have been using ultraviolet (UV) light as a disinfectant for over 100 years. Initial research in the late 1800s showed that the natural UV rays in sunlight can deactivate or kill bacteria, and now, researchers also know how effective UV light is at deactivating viruses, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for causing COVID-19. Now, just about every hospital in the country uses UV-C light as part of their cleaning and disinfection procedures, and many businesses in other sectors are following their lead.
What Is UV Light?
UV light has wavelengths that lie beyond the visible light spectrum at wavelengths between 200 and 400 nanometers. There are three classes of UV light. UV-A light has wavelengths of 315-400 nanometers, UV-B falls in the 280-315 range, and UV-C has wavelengths of 200-280 nanometers. Though according to realtimecampaign.com, the majority of the natural UV light that reaches the surface of the earth from the sun falls into the UV-A and UV-B categories, UV-C is the most effective at inactivating pathogens.
How Does UV Light Kill Pathogens?
Specific UV light wavelength could offer low-cost, safe way to curb COVID-19 spread thanks to the fact that UV-C is particularly good at inactivating pathogens. The reason it’s so effective at performing this crucial task is that light within this range of wavelengths is absorbed very efficiently by the nucleic acids that viruses and other microorganisms use to replicate and cause infections. When the nucleic acids absorb the UV light, they’re damaged by the transfer of energy, rendering them unable to replicate.
UV-C Disinfecting in Healthcare Settings
Hospitals, clinics, and labs have been using UV light as an adjunct disinfection strategy for years, and with good reason. Research shows that it is very effective at eliminating high-concern microorganisms, which is very important in healthcare settings. Without careful cleaning and disinfection procedures in place, researchers find more transmissible bacteria, viruses, and other disease vectors in hospitals than in just about any other setting. It’s clear that the technology works and that it is worth the cost.
Bringing UV-C Disinfection to Other Industries
Until very recently, UV-C disinfection was prohibitively expensive for most businesses. In hospitals, the cost of investing in pricey but effective UV disinfection systems is obviously outweighed by the benefits of preventing the spread of dangerous and potentially deadly pathogens. However, most business owners in other industries couldn’t justify paying a small fortune for hospital-grade equipment.
Now, there’s a better solution. The COVID pandemic has inspired at least one company to start manufacturing hospital-grade UV disinfection systems for broader applications. Since the beginning of the pandemic, R-Zero Systems has established itself as a trusted vendor of high-quality mobile UV-C unit that’s affordable enough for schools, municipal buildings, and private businesses.
UV-C Light Makes an Excellent Adjunctive Treatment
While UV-C light exposure doesn’t replace the need for other cleaning and disinfecting techniques, it can play a critical role as an adjunctive treatment. To incorporate UV light into a cleaning procedure, first clean and disinfect the surfaces by hand. Once that’s done, cleaners can use a portable device to ensure full UV coverage after all personnel leave the room. It’s both easy and affordable.