Ceiling fixtures emitting a safe form of ultraviolet light called far-UVC would be very efficient at killing airborne coronaviruses, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University.
“A very low exposure to far-UVC light killed well over 99.9% of the exposed virus,” lead researcher Dr. David Brenner told Reuters.
The researchers put coronavirus particles into little droplets and floated them in the air in front of far-UVC lights, then collected the viruses and tested them to see how many were still active.
The study, published on Wednesday in Scientific Reports, used coronaviruses that cause common colds.
“But in our subsequent ongoing studies we have found that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is killed in just the same way by far-UVC light,” Brenner said.
The idea would be to install overhead far-UVC lights in public locations, where they would be “continuously killing microbes, including the COVID-19 virus – and so limiting the spread of the virus,” Brenner said, adding that far-UVC manufacturers are already ramping up production.
“We don’t see far-UVC light as an alternative to masks and social distancing,” Brenner said.
“We see it as a new extra weapon that we can use in the battle against COVID-19.”
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