Study reveals UV LED lights effectively kill a human coronavirus

Study reveals UV LED lights effectively kill a human coronavirus
In a recent study, researchers discovered that UV light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can easily and effectively kill the human coronavirus HCoV-OC43. If they're also effective against SARS-CoV-2, this technology could be an economical way to disinfect surfaces, ventilation systems, and water systems.

It is well known that SARS-CoV-2, which may be the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread through respiratory droplets and surfaces contaminated by nasal, mouth, and eye secretions.

According to a review article in the journal Environmental Research, SARS-CoV-2 was within air samples from areas such as hospital rooms and elevators. It had been also measurable in poorly ventilated or crowded spaces.

SARS-CoV-2 was also viable for many days on common surfaces, such as for example stainless and plastic.

Due to urgent have to find effective disinfection methods for SARS-CoV-2, researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel - in collaboration with the University of Haifa, Oranim Academic College, and Chaim Sheba INFIRMARY at Tel HaShomer - attempt to investigate whether irradiation using UV LED would inactivate human coronaviruses.

They recently published their results in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology.

Scientists put UV LEDs to the test
Using the human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) as an alternative for SARS-CoV-2, the study team tested different UV LED bulbs emitting varying wavelengths - measured in nanometers (nm) - to see which would effectively inactivate the HCoV-OC43 virus.

After exposing viral suspensions located in darkened tubes to UV LED light, the team discovered that wavelengths of 285 nm were impressive at inactivating the virus and almost as effective as wavelengths of 265 nm, inactivating 99.9% of the coronavirus within 30 seconds.

Furthermore, other viruses showed similar sensitivity to these wavelengths, indicating that technology could be useful against various kinds of human coronavirus, including SARS-CoV-2.

The researchers say these findings are significant because not only does the 285-nm UV LED light disinfect coronaviruses, nonetheless it is also less expensive and more readily available compared to the 265-nm variety.

As the researchers used HCoV-OC43 rather than SARS-CoV-2, they state that their future work will try to confirm these results by testing the impact of LEDs and their combinations on the virus that triggers COVID-19.
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