Researchers say their far-UVC lamps kill viruses and bacteria in real-world settings in minutes. They say the lamps are safe and would save lives.
David Brenner, director of Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research in New York City, has been studying the potential of UVC technology to kill viruses in settings safe for humans.
Brenner has discovered that although UVC light is harmful to people, there is a form of UVC that can kill viruses without harming our skin or eyes — and it’s called far-UVC. And Brenner’s team has developed and tested a far-UVC lamp.
UVC light does its damage when it is able to go beyond the surface of the skin and eyes, reaching cells deeper in the body.
But far-UVC light is absorbed by the outer layers of the skin and eyes. As a result, far-UVC is prevented from reaching those deeper, living cells, and is less likely to cause any damage.
Researchers have tested the theory on mice, and it appears to work.
There have been two small studies testing it on people as well. And those appear to show that far-UVC is safe for human exposure in the short term. But long-term studies on humans, and those with groups larger than 20 people, have yet to be published.
Far-UVC lamps: First real-world tests
Brenner’s team has demonstrated in a study published in March that their far-UVC lamps kill bacteria in full-size rooms.
Using five such lamps, the researchers found that it took less than five minutes to reduce the level of indoor airborne microbes by more than 98%.
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