Currently, the global Coronavirus pandemic is a major concern due to its high transmission rate and rapid spread throughout the world. The death rate is currently reported at 2-3 %, with no vaccine or antiviral medication available to the public.
Previously, hundreds of studies conducted have confirmed that ultraviolet (UV) light can be an effective measure in decontaminating surfaces that may have been contaminated by viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The COVID-19 virus is similar in structure to many other coronaviruses such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). While COVID-19 has not has sufficient studies done on the outcome of the UV light exposure, many studies on other related coronaviruses such as SARS, have shown that it has a high susceptibility to UV inactivation.
There are two UV methods for infection control against bacteria that currently exist. UV radiation or chemicals are used as exposure in the form of a disinfectant. These range between 200 and 300 nanometers. In order for the successful killing of the Coronavirus, the wavelength of the UV light required is very high and the exposure to the light needs to be sufficient, which can be very expensive. Additional disadvantages to using the UV light is that the radiation can cause damage to your eyes and cause skin irritation with too much exposure.
There are different types of UV. Firstly, UVA, it makes up a vast majority of the rays which are emitted from the sun. it has the ability to penetrate deep into the skin and is considered responsible for 80 % aging skin, from age spots to wrinkles. Next, we have UVB. This type of UV has the ability to cause damage to the DNA in our skin. This damage leads to sunburn and in turn, can eventually cause skin cancer. Recent studies show that UVA can also be a major cause of skin cancer. Thirdly, we UVC. This is a more complicated wavelength as it is a shorter, more energetic wavelength compared to the first two. It is a good contender in completely destroying genetic material, both in humans and in viral particles. Luckily, it is less common and in a lifetime a person is unlikely to have encountered any exposure. In terms of rays from the sun, the ozone filters this type of UV, protecting our skin long before it would have reached the surface of the earth.
UVC has become a staple method of sterilization, used in many industries from hospitals to the sanitation of drinking water. While short studies have been conducted in order to get results as quickly as possible, large exposure of UVC to treat COVID-19 on surfaces has been successful. And while it may work well on surfaces of all kinds of materials, once the virus is inside your body, no amount of UV exposure is going to have any impact on whether you’re affected. Hence, the search continues.
It's no wonder people have begun asking the question, where to buy n95 masks?