COVID-19’s impact on the healthcare system cannot be understated. As the threat of future airborne viruses looms, far-UVC technology should be seen as a serious consideration for the safeguarding of medical facilities.
The world is still locked in a struggle against an airborne virus that has wreaked havoc across every continent; however, the medical world has long been aware of the dangers of aerosolised diseases. Hospitals and medical centres have searched for various solutions to ensure that their enclosed environments have the ability to remain sanitised and hygienic at all times.
According to research published in the Scientific Reports journal, low doses of UVC can increase disinfection rates between 50 to 80 per cent compared to a room’s ventilation alone. That being said, there’s still a lingering fear about the dangers of UVC technology around humans.
For decades, scientists have known that broad-spectrum UVC light is highly effective at exterminating bacteria and viruses by attacking their molecular bonds. The technology has even been harnessed in the decontamination of surgical equipment. Unfortunately, this type of UV light cannot be used in public spaces since it is a hazard to humans, potentially leading to skin cancer and cataracts in the eyes.
In 2017, Dr David Brenner, a Director for Radiological Research at Columbia University, and his team had a breakthrough. They hypothesised that a narrow spectrum (222nm) of ultraviolet light called far-UVC could kill viruses and bacteria but without damaging human tissue. It’s the type of innovation that Dr Kgosi Letlape, Executive Director of Tshepang Trust and President of the African Medical Association, has lauded as “game-changing” and the way to ensuring healthcare professionals and patients feel safe in any occupied space, especially with the threat of COVID-19 still lurking.
“Far-UVC light has a very limited range and cannot penetrate through the outer dead-cell layer of human skin or the tear layer in the eye, so it’s not a human health hazard. But because viruses and bacteria are much smaller than human cells, far-UVC light can reach their DNA and kill them,” Brenner said.
In indoor environments such as medical centres, it isn’t always possible to practice social distancing and ventilation doesn’t always exterminate viruses, making it far easier for an aerosolised virus to be breathed in and spread. However, far-UVC lighting provides an alternative, safe way to mitigate transmissions in these type of settings. In fact, a study at the Vagelos College of Physicians at Columbia University Irving Medical Center found that more than 99.9% of seasonal coronaviruses present in airborne droplets were killed when exposed to far-UVC light.
Equally important, far-UVC technology works well in conjunction with other sanitation and hygiene products, and isn’t a displacement of what medical facilities already have in their arsenal. Instead, it operates as a reliable, proven safeguard that offers extra support to spaces that require the highest and strictest levels of hygiene and sanitisation.
For Conrad Kullmann, Managing Director of FAR UVC AFRICA, he believes that human-safe far-UVC technology is the future of healthcare systems. “Our goal should be to reduce the number of annual superbug and viral infections, the amount of patients suffering from these deadly infections, and the burden these infections cause on our healthcare system – both financially and in terms of resources – every year,” he explained.
It’s no secret that the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic put immense pressure and strain on the healthcare system, resulting in difficult decisions having to be taken by medical institutions and healthcare workers. With further mutations and new threats of viruses, it’s become paramount to consider how we can eliminate these viruses before they even have a chance of being transmitted – especially in healthcare facilities.
Through the use of far-UVC light sanitising technology such as bulbs and lamps, it’s possible to disinfect the whole body within eight seconds. Eight seconds. That’s all it takes to sterilise the air around us, and keep our co-workers, patients, and ourselves safe.
About FAR UVC Africa
FAR UVC Africa started in South Africa in 2020 after identifying a gap in the market created by COVID-19 and the importance of safe sanitisation. FAR UVC Africa provides human-safe far-UVC 222nm (nanometre) sanitising light technology products that actively combats airborne diseases (including COVID-19) in various environments such as offices, retail, schools, public transport systems, gyms and shopping centres. For more information on FAR UVC Africa, please visit the company website: www.faruvcafrica.com.