Today’s Solutions: March 31, 2023

The Optimist Daily has reported on a number of inventions that use ultraviolet (UV) microorganisms’ radiation as a sanitation tool, like this door handle or this mask decontamination machine. It seems lighting may be the future solution to quickly and safely zap away harmful microorganisms.

A team from the University of Toronto certainly agrees and has reported on a method to effectively sanitize spaces with UV-LED lighting. In their experiments, detailed in Virology Journal, these lights were shown to effectively kill both HIV and coronaviruses.

“We’re at a critical time where we need to use every single possible stop to get us out of this pandemic,” says Christina Guzzo, who worked on the project “Every mitigation strategy that can be easily implemented should be used.”

How effective is UV light against microorganisms?

The team first tested the UV-LED lights against a type of virus which are notoriously resistant to radiation. The new technology was able to decrease the growth of this microorganism by 99 percent in just 20 seconds of exposure. “If you’re able to kill these spores, then you can reasonably say you should be able to kill most other viruses that you would commonly encounter in the environment,” added Guzzo.

Next, the team tried out this method on HIV in droplet form to mimic the typical form in which people come into contact with the virus, from sneezing, coughing, and blood. The results were incredible, with the UV radiation managing to deplete the virus’ ability to infect by 88 percent in just 30 seconds. Tests against coronavirus also proved to be extremely effective, causing the researchers to suggest this method could be used to reduce infection rates and help slow the pandemic.

As easy as the flip of a switch 

This solution is easily implemented, all it takes is a lightbulb change to stop the transmission of deadly diseases. Plus, it is environmentally friendly, affordable, accessible, and requires no chemicals.

As the lights could be harmful to humans with repeated and prolonged exposure, the team suggests that this method could be easily employed when public spaces are empty. For example, a bus at the end of its route, empty elevators, escalator handrails when they are on the underside of the track, or offices when everyone has left. “You could disinfect in a way that wouldn’t be infringing on people’s enjoyment of that everyday ‘normal’ life that they long for,” stated Guzzo.

As more research like this is released, and with the continuing pressures of the pandemic, this new tool will most likely become more and more popular to help prevent infection of diseases, potentially saving many lives.

Source study: Virology JournalA UV-LED module that is highly effective at inactivating human coronaviruses and HIV-1

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