UV-LED lights can potentially kill coronaviruses and HIV: Study

IANS | Updated on: Thursday, March 31, 2022, 03:09 AM IST

It might be possible to get rid of coronavirus through UV-LED lights.  | Representative Image
It might be possible to get rid of coronavirus through UV-LED lights. | Representative Image

The same light bulbs used in offices and public spaces can destroy coronaviruses and HIV, claims a research. Researchers at the University of Toronto-Scarborough, Canada, killed both viruses using UV-LED lights, which can alternate between white light and decontaminating ultraviolet (UV) light.

UV lights kill viruses through radiation. The team first tested the lights on bacterial spores notorious for their resistance to this radiation.

The researchers then created droplets containing coronaviruses or HIV, to mimic typical ways people encounter viruses in public, such as from coughing, sneezing and bleeding. The droplets were then exposed to UV light and placed in a culture to see if any of the virus remained active. With just 30 seconds of exposure, the virus's ability to infect dropped by 93 per cent.

Guzzo noted that UV-LEDs are cheap and could be easy to retrofit in existing light fixtures, and that the bulbs are long-lasting and simple to maintain.

But the lights aren't harmless, and there's a reason for wearing sunscreen and sunglasses - UV radiation damages nucleic acid, and repeated, prolonged exposure is harmful.

That's why Guzzo said the lights should be used when public spaces are empty, such as vacated buses that have finished their routes, or empty elevators travelling between floors.

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Published on: Thursday, March 31, 2022, 07:00 AM IST