Updated: May 26
Recent studies have shown positive results in the use of Far-UVC to sanitize the air and surfaces in high traffic areas. With claims that this newfound ultraviolet technology is safe for use in occupied spaces, it could be the answer we've been looking for.
Far-UVC: A Safe Way to Sanitize Occupied Spaces
According to research being conducted by Columbia University Medical Center’s, Center for Radiological Research (CRR), far-UVC technology that deactivates airborne viruses in real-time, inhibiting their replication and ability to spread, is proving safe for use in human occupied spaces. Imagine never closing your business again due to an outbreak because of virus-zapping lights that kill harmful pathogens before they can enter another human body.
Under the leadership of Dr. David J. Brenner, CRR Director, researchers are testing the efficacy of using far-UVC light (207–222 nm) to inactivate bacteria without harm to exposed mammalian skin. Based on recent CRR data, “continuous very low dose-rate far-UVC light in indoor public locations is a promising, safe and inexpensive tool to reduce the spread of airborne-mediated microbial diseases.” They are conducting their first long-term study of the effects of the far-UVC light via a 60-week exposure safety study in which 100 hairless mice are being exposed to high levels of it for eight hours a day for five days a week. They are 40 weeks into this study and so far have detected “no skin or eye damage in the mice,” reported Dr. Brenner.
“So far, no skin or eye damage is present in the mice.” - Dr. David J. Brenner, Director Columbia University Medical Center’s, Center for Radiological Research
Is It Really Safe for Humans?
Testing is still underway to prove that far-UVC is safe for use in human occupies spaces. Dr. Brenner states that it does not have the safety issues that conventional germicidal UV lights have because far-UVC eliminates the carcinogenic (cancer causing) and cataractogenic (causing cataract) risks associated with UV light exposure. Far-UVC can penetrate and kill viruses floating in the air without penetrating the dead-cell layer at the surface of our skin and the eyes. Thus, it won’t be able to reach or damage any living cells in our body. The mice used in the CRR study are extremely sensitive to ultraviolet radiation with an increased risk of developing skin cancer. UVC emitted at a 222nm wavelength during these experiments is proving to only penetrate the outermost layer of their skin.
Although FDA approval on FAR-UVC may be months away, various companies are currently producing sanitizing products using FAR-UVC and expecting to deliver them to the market soon. Similar to hospital-grade UV sanitizing devices, FAR-UVC customers are being prompted to note recent studies for efficacy proof - many are recommending use in unoccupied spaces until FDA approval achieved.
FAR-UVC eliminates the carcinogenic (cancer causing) and cataractogenic (causing cataract) risks associated with UV light exposure.
Vaccines Will Help - For Now
There are several companies racing to find a vaccine cure to the Coronavirus, some already in human clinical trials. According to the The New York Times, Oxford University's The Jennifer Institute, one of the larger academic centers dedicated to nonprofit vaccine research, is leading the pack. Their head start resulted from a vaccine they previously demonstrated to be safe for humans and successful in neutralizing earlier forms of the Coronavirus.
With emergency authorization from regulators, and a rapidly progressing clinical program, doses of the Jennifer Institute's vaccine could be available as soon as September 2020. However, what we don't know is whether or not a vaccine given today, will protect us against future Coronavirus outbreaks or any other new virus threats.
How Far-UVC the Future
Far-UVC as a public space sanitizing method will continue to dominate the long-term conversation on how we can safely resume life after COVID-19. Although it’s still possible to contract the virus by touching contaminated surfaces, the CDC says that the primary transmission of the novel #Coronavirus is through person-to-person contact, which means coughing, sneezing and close talking. Cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing our personal and public environments will no longer be a primary focus of hospitals and doctor's offices. It's something we all have to consider - all the time.
As we’ve seen with the #COVID-19 Pandemic, germs, bacteria, and viruses can spread quickly when not mitigated by effective sanitizing measures. And to date, there’s no product on the market that can effectively deactivate viruses in the air in real-time. Using #FarUVC technology in human occupied spaces on a continual basis would significantly lower the risk of transmitting pathogens in the air and on surfaces in public enclosed spaces like airports, malls, museums, and schools – down to nearly zero.