COVID-19 Decontamination: How to Harness UV-C Light to Disinfect Facilities

Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation is a tried-and-true disinfection technique. But caution is required for use in facilities. Here’s what you need to know.–19109

Difficult challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been the order of the day in 2020. However, current circumstances are spurring the innovation of therapies and techniques that are changing global approaches to many fields, including the decontamination of the built environment. As is often the case with transformative technologies, building blocks that have been available for decades are being assembled in inventive ways to create tools uniquely suited to fight the spread of the coronavirus. 

Ultraviolet (UV) light, invisible to the human eye, exists on the electromagnetic spectrum between X-rays and visible light. There are three types of UV light that are classified by wavelength from longer to shorter – UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. Light-based disinfection, in the form of UV-C irradiation, has been part of standard protocol for sterilizing hospital spaces and scientific laboratories for decades and has even become widely used as a replacement for chlorine in purifying municipal drinking water supplies. 

Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is a disinfection method that uses short wavelength ultraviolet (ultraviolet C or UV-C) light to kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA, leaving them unable to perform vital cellular functions. UVGI is used in a variety of applications, such as food, air, and water purification.

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