The scientist are coming to a really new discovery, the UV light and they want to try using it for killing the coronavirus. The ultraviolet light is a decades-old technique that can zap viruses and bacteria. The hospitals are using it for years to cut down on the spread of drug-resistant superbugs and to disinfect the surgical suites. However, there is now interest in using the UV technology in spaces like schools, office buildings, and restaurants to help reduce coronavirus transmission once the public places and restaurants are open again.
“Germicidal ultraviolet technology has been around for probably 100 years and has had good success,” says Jim Malley, PhD, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of New Hampshire.”Since early March, there’s been just an enormous amount of interest in it, and research funding to institutions around the world.”
This kind of light that is about to be used, ultraviolet C (UVC), is one of the three types of rays given off by our sun. It is filtered out by the ozone before it can get to life on Earth, thankfully: Though it can kill germs, it can also cause cancer and destroy our DNA and the corneas of our eyes.
The sanitizing effects of these ultraviolet lights have been seen with other coronaviruses, including the one that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Studies showed that it can be also used against other types of coronaviruses. There was a study that found that at least 15 minutes of UVC exposure inactivated SARS, making it impossible for the virus to replicate. New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority also have announced the use of UV light on subway cars, buses, technology centers, and offices.
But there’s one huge caveat: “UV light damages human skin, so it should only be used on objects or surfaces,” the NASEM confirms. That means you should not use UV light as a hand sanitizer. Stick to washing your hands with soap and water (following proper hand-washing guidelines), or just use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when there is no available soap and water.