Can UV Light Kill Covid Virus? The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is still currently on-going and it’s obvious that it will not end soon. As of now, more than ten million individuals have already contracted the deadly virus with vaccines yet to be available.
The lack of vaccines caused people to find alternatives to help them deal with the virus and protect themselves. One of these preventive measures involves the use of ultraviolet light to sanitize or disinfect objects, surfaces, and even people.
In this article, we will explore the nature of UV light and its effectiveness in dealing with the virus. This article will also compare the associated risks with the benefits that the use of UV light gives.
We know that the human eyes can perceive colors within what is called as the visible spectrum of light. The term ultraviolet came from “the light beyond violet”, which Johann Ritter proved to exist back in 1801.
UV light is a highly dangerous type of high-frequency electromagnetic radiation produced by the sun. It’s known to kill living tissues and long-term exposure can cause sunburns, premature aging, or even skin cancer.
It has three different classifications, namely UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. They are classified based on how strong their effects are with UV-A being the weakest and UV-C as the strongest.
Out of the three, only UV-C cannot reach us since it’s completely blocked by the Earth’s ozone layer. UV-A is considerably harmless and is even the type of UV light used in tanning beds or some medical procedures.
Exposure to UV-B and UV-C on the contrary can cause tissue damage, with UV-C being the most harmful one. Although it’s the most harmful type, scientists saw the potential of UV-C light in killing harmful microorganisms and pathogens.
In 1878, they successfully reproduce it artificially which significantly improved sterilization technology and it’s still being widely used even today. As of now, the use of UV-C has been the standard for sterilization of water treatment facilities, hospitals, and factories.
UV light works by breaking down a microorganism from the inside. Specifically targeting their chemical bonds as well as deforming their RNA and DNA structure, essentially crippling their ability to reproduce.
A microorganism can already be considered as “dead” if it can no longer reproduce. This is because their harmful effects will only manifest once they have reached a certain number. UV light is very efficient since it can sterilize objects in just seconds to an hour depending on their size.
As of now, the direct answer to this question is still not within sight. The most probable answer right now is “maybe”. Many UV sanitation product companies claim that their products can completely erase the traces of the said virus.
But so far, there are really still no relevant studies to prove or deny their claims. However, it is a known fact that UV-C light type is effective against many kinds of coronavirus strains.
Most notably those strains cause SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Since it’s also a coronavirus, there is a high probability that the covid virus can be killed by UV-C light.
You should take note that such products is not recommended to be used directly in any parts of your body. UV-C light is extremely harmful to the human body, especially to the skin. Direct contact with the skin can cause severe sunburns or skin cancer with just moments of exposure from the light.
It should only be used on objects or surfaces that might have been contaminated with the virus. Also, these products that use UV-C light are often very expensive compared to most soaps and rubbing alcohol products.
Even if they’re simple, the said products had been proven and tested many times to work well against the virus.
Proper hand-washing, distancing, and wearing masks is still the standard measures to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. Although UV light is a potential alternative, the associated risks and cost of it might turn you away.
However, with the progress of technology, a time will come where the use of UV light might become the norm.