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Part One: How we can use UVC to limit the spread of Covid-19

Updated: Mar 4

Almost two years on from the first lockdown, we’re still tackling one of its many variants, Omicron.


Having the vaccine and booster programme has no doubt reduced the health implications of this virus and been a huge factor in the recent relaxation of social restrictions and mask wearing.

Yet, the impact Covid-19 is still having on society and business undoubtedly remains. To achieve the common collective goal and get back to life as we once knew it, we need to look at other permanent solutions and technology…


UV-C used in other pandemics

Fortunately, we don’t have look too far.


UVC technology has been used in other pandemics to fight the spread of infection. Take the Influenza pandemic in the 1950s where UV-C air disinfection technology reduced the transmission rate by 90 per cent. Other examples lie in the UVC technology being used in the fight against Measles and TB. Where there is an airborne virus, UVC technology can be extremely effective in helping to reduce the spread of infection.


How Covid-19 spreads

One of the challenges with Covid-19 is that the contagious rate is dangerously high. Covid-19 is the worst pandemic in scale and speed we have seen this century. The primary way that the virus spreads is via airborne aerosols. At the start of the pandemic, a case in Washington was found where 45 singers out of 60 strong choir rehearsal were diagnosed with Covid-19 almost certainly transmitted through the air.

This is because when we talk, laugh, cough, sneeze and breathe, we emit droplets, particles and aerosols that then travel upwards into the air space of a room via thermal convection, mechanical or natural ventilation. As a result, being outside where these aerosols are not trapped is one of the reasons why the risk of transmission is so much higher in indoor settings than outdoor settings.

Being indoors, these aerosols spread across rooms, filling the majority of the air space in seconds, eventually cool, drop and land onto surfaces. Transmittors of Covid-19 has been seen to emit varying sizes of particles, with varying concentration levels of the virus per particle. The smaller the particle, not only the further it can travel across an air space, but the deeper it penetrates into the lungs and the more damage it can cause.

With the Omicron variant, the virus has been seen to focus more in the throat than the lungs and is present in higher levels of saliva compared to the other covid variants. As a result, this makes it so easy to emit covid particles and why the transmissibility is so high with this variant.


How UVC can help reduce the spread of Covid-19

UV-C technology is such a powerful tool in killing bacteria and viruses. Very simply, when UVC light ‘hits’ a pathogen, it will agitate that DNA/RNA of the pathogen and cause a change in shape. This change ultimately renders the pathogen inactive. This technology can inactivate all known microorganisms with each microorganism coming with its own level resistance. Covid-19 has been proven to be very susceptible to UVC light and can be inactivated in seconds. The beauty of UVC air disinfection technology is that it can be used in real time, at the source of transmission which is where people are gathered in indoor shared spaces.


With this technology fitted or placed into indoor shared spaces, the UVC light can treat the air and reduce up to 99.99 per cent of Covid-19 and other harmful pathogens from the air space. As demonstrated below, UVC upper air disinfection units can be installed into the shared and common spaces within a building, typically where the risk of transmission is high. By being part of the infrastructure of a building, UVC helps to control the air quality of a room whilst everyone carries on living their everyday, normal lives.

I started exploring the benefits of UVC technology roughly seven years ago when developing my first product, the DentaDenta UV Steriliser. This small strong case stores and sterilises your mouthguard, retainer or denture in just minutes using a UVC light.

Now through Dakro Environmental, we can solve disinfection challenges for businesses. This might be looking at reducing the risk of airborne transmission in shared indoor spaces such as offices, or tackling some of the microbiological challenges faced in production factories. In one way or another, there’s a way for UVC technology to benefit all of our lives.

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