NEW YORK, NETRALNEWS.COM - Scientists at Columbia University say special ultraviolet lights can kill the coronavirus lingering in the air, such as in hospitals and at schools.
A scientist at Columbia University in New York said certain types of light might be the secret to destroying the new coronavirus.
Director of the Radiology Research Center Dr. David Brenner and his team has learned how to use ultraviolet light, or better known as UV light. These light rays are known to prevent the spreading of diseases for years.
Germicidal UV lamps are used in hospitals and medical centers to clean rooms and equipment, but it is dangerous to human health as the UV rays can cause skin cancer and eye disease. However, there is a special type of UV light called far beam UVC which kills microbes but is not dangerous to humans.
Conventional germicidal UV light kills microbes, but also penetrates the skin, thus increasing the risk of various forms of skin cancer and cataract. Far-UVC light, on the other hand, is strong enough to be used as a cleanser but does not damage skin cells.
Before the coronavirus outbreak happened, Brenner was studying whether far UVC rays could kill viruses in the air, in preparation for the flu season.
A 2018 study published in Scientific Reports, written with Brenner, shows that this type of light can kill more than 95 percent of viruses, including the coronavirus. That's because the virus is covered with a thin membrane that breaks easily by UV light.
Brenner's team has tested the UVC on two seasonal coronaviruses, and are now testing the strain responsible for the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2.
"We see that it can kill 99 percent of the virus with very low doses of UVC rays. However, UVC has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration," he said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
If approved, Brenner said to ABC News that it could be used in public places, including modes of transportation such as airports and train stations, in addition to schools and hospitals.
In China and South Korea, UV lamps mounted or installed on robots are used to clean buses, trains and others in just five minutes.
Many health experts say this method is safer, faster, and cheaper than other disinfecting measures, and can accelerate the reopening of the economy.