The start of 2020 seemed similar to any other year we’ve lived through. Very few of us could have anticipated what the months ahead would actually hold for the entire world. The rapid and unprecedented spread of coronavirus, and the consequent outbreak of deaths and illnesses caused by the resultant Covid-19 disease, has meant that hundreds of thousands have lost their lives unexpectedly and even more have experienced serious illness. It’s not all too surprising, then, that scientists and medics across the world are looking for solutions to this pandemic and different ways to improve the health and chances of those suffering from the disease. While many are looking for a vaccine to put an outright stop to the spread of this illness, others are looking for ways to treat individuals who are already suffering. Those in the latter category have begun drawing attention to UV light and the role that it could potentially play in killing coronavirus, or at least slowing its spread.
Existing Uses of UV Light in Hospitals
The use of UV light as a form of disinfectant isn’t an entirely new premise – especially amongst hospitals around the world. The presence of UV disinfectant machines has been on the rise in recent years. Their most common use is to disinfect rooms that patients with particularly contagious diseases have been occupying. It’s not all too surprising, then, that many people are beginning to wonder whether UV light could prove effective in killing coronavirus – or at least whether it could be used as a means of effectively cleaning PPE, which is in high demand and is relatively scarce right now.
How Does UV Light Kill Microorganisms?
UV light can work in a number of ways to kill microorganisms. Generally speaking, UV light will kill microorganisms by damaging their DNA or RNA depending on the type of virus. The UV light breaks the microorganisms down on a molecular level, destroying existing bonds within the microorganisms and causing new ones to form. Once the microorganism’s DNA or RNA is severely damaged, it will no longer be able to function or survive.
Can UV Light Kill Covid-19?
Covid-19 is an RNA virus. UV-C light, in particular, has been found to kill 99.9% of human coronaviruses. Various studies are also being conducted into whether UVA and UVB light can successfully destroy the virus, or at least damage the virus’ genetic material in some way.