Scientists have found that a device using ultraviolet light could be effective at killing the flu virus while it is in the air.
Scientists have just made what could be an gigantic medical breakthrough after finding a way to use ultraviolet light to killt he airborne flu virus without risking harm to humans, which could save an untold number of lives. Scientists at Columbia University Irving Medical Center described a type of UVC lamps that could theoretically be installed at hospitals, airports, and other public places to kill the influenza virus.
That is huge news, considering that tens of thousands of people die every year from the flu, and hundreds of thousands more end up int he hospital. While UV lamps had been explored in the past, the problem is that they had to operate at a spectrum of 200 to 400 nanometer wavelengths, which can damage human skin and cells.
However, by using a far-UVC light with limited range, scientists found they were able to kill the airborne flu virus without penetrating human skin. Flu is so effective at spreading because as infected people cough or sneeze, it leaves droplets suspended in air containing the virus, which people in the area easily absorb. This discovery could attack the flu virus right at the transmission point.
“If our results are confirmed in other settings, it follows that the use of overhead low-level far-UVC light in public locations would be a safe and efficient method for limiting the transmission and spread of airborne-mediated microbial diseases, such as influenza and tuberculosis,” said study leader David J. Brenner, PhD, the Higgins Professor of Radiation Biophysics at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia.