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UV light vs. coronavirus: this is how rooms can be disinfected without harming people

As soon as it came out of the isolation bubble in June 2020, Spain plunged into all possibilities to continue enjoying a normal life despite SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes: COVID-19. However, we soon saw that ozone and ultraviolet tunnels were perhaps not the most suitable. There is little evidence of ozone, but we know that ultraviolet light is used to kill other viruses or bacteria; so it’s not such a crazy idea. So products like I-ON Air are beginning to be marketed with the intention that at home; In the office or any other building they can be used to disinfect, although great care must be taken. But What does UV light do and how can it help us disinfect the air from Sars-CoV-2?

As we said, ultraviolet C light kills many microorganisms. On the one hand, this type of radiation has the ability to damage the DNA and RNA of viruses and, therefore, disinfect a room. And, on the other, that same capacity for damage can be found in the DNA of people and animals. This is the main reason why use these types of products very carefully and, above all, in the right way.

In the case of I-ON Air, it is a kind of filter or disinfection system that must be installed “in the ventilation ducts“explains to Hipertextual Alfonso Gordon, founding partner of Alteria Automation, the creator of I-ON Air.” It integrates lamps that radiate ultraviolet light, responsible for the instantaneous sterilization of all types of pathogens, “he adds.” It also includes sensors intelligent as radiation level, temperature, humidity, or CO2 that allow, not only to offer the traceability of the process, but also to empirically test disinfection. The data derived from the process is stored in the cloud, and can be consulted from any device at any time. In this way the user can check that with the use of I-ON Air the space is disinfected. The technology has the artificial intelligence necessary to carry out auto-adjustments and warnings about the operation of all its components. “

Ultraviolet light to end SARS-CoV-2

I-ON Air, ultraviolet light against coronavirusAlteria Automation,

“UV light prevents viruses from reproducing, which means that it prevents contagion,” says Gordon

As we explained, ultraviolet C light has the ability to damage the DNA and RNA of viruses and this causes them to not reproduce. “Which means it prevents contagion,” says Gordon. “Relatively small intensities of radiation, at certain wavelengths, cause changes in the RNA and DNA bonds in a process called dimerization. In this way, ultraviolet C inactivates the reproduction of viruses, bacteria, fungi and other parasites“. In the case of this system,” it does not pose any danger to people or animals “as long as the device is installed in the ventilation ducts. While forced ventilation is in use, the I-ON Air system will disinfect the air. This is very important since we know that most infections are caused by aerosols.

But ultraviolet light alone isn’t enough, Gordon says. “It is not just about turning on ultraviolet lights in a ventilation duct, since without knowing the level of CO2, humidity, radiation level and other parameters, you cannot confirm that the emitted radiation inactivates SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens “. And this is one of the big differences with the disinfection tunnels that became fashionable during de-escalation: it doesn’t just throw ultraviolet light. Not to mention, also, that these tunnels, in order not to be harmful to people, could not emit too much radiation.

Certified by INTA

The safety of these systems is very important since they deal with ultraviolet radiation, which is “a physical disinfectant”, as the Ministry of Health points out to Explica.co. And, therefore, they need to “comply with the UNE 0068 standard and contact a notifying body to verify that it complies with it.” In the case of I-ON Air, it complies with these safety regulations according to the Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS). However, the ministry also notes that the evidence for this type of ultraviolet light against SARS-CoV-2 “is still scarce and very heterogeneous.” But we know that it does work with other microorganisms; so, in principle, it should not be different for this type of coronavirus.

The National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA), belonging to the Ministry of Defense, has certified that they also comply as a chemical disinfectant (UNE-EN 13610: 2003) and as a virucidal (ASTM1053: 97). However, it should be noted that specific testing for SARS-CoV-2 has not been done. Although yes for another coronavirus of the family, “SARS MS 2 (size 2-25 nm) much more resistant and difficult to deactivate than SARS-CoV-2 (size 80-100 nm), “says Gordon.

Ultraviolet light lamps in the Berja Town Hall

I-ON Air is a product to disinfect continuously as long as you have ventilation ducts. Many buildings have them, but not all. But don’t worry, there are lamps that also disinfect with ultraviolet light. However, you have to be very careful with its use for what we mentioned earlier: it is harmful to people.

In the Berja Town Hall, for example, ultraviolet C lamps have been installed and the company AMG engineers has been in charge of generating an installation so that they do not turn on when there are people in the room. In fact, this is another option when you want to disinfect a room and do not have ventilation ducts. However, keep in mind that this company has taken care that the lamps are not working all the time; They only do it when no one is inside. That is, the lamps by themselves do not detect if there are people inside, so you have to be very careful where it is installed and how it is used. In the case of the installation of AMG engineers for this town hall, sensors and alarm systems have been placed that stop the entire mechanism if there are people in the room.

And it is that at this time everyone is concerned about SARS-CoV-2 and having disinfection systems indoors can come in handy. Of course, always very carefully and using them correctly. Ultraviolet light is not a game.

The article UV light vs. coronavirus: this way rooms can be disinfected without harming people was published in Hypertext.