THECONVERSATION.COM – Scientists have long known that ultraviolet light can kill pathogens on surfaces and in air and water. UV robots are used to disinfect empty hospital rooms, buses and trains; UV bulbs in HVAC systems eliminate pathogens in building air; and UV lamps kill bugs in drinking water.
Perhaps you have seen UV wands, UV LEDs and UV air purifiers advertised as silver bullets to protect against the coronavirus. While decades of research have looked at the ability of UV light to kill many pathogens, there are no set standards for UV disinfection products with regard to the coronavirus. These products may work to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but they also may not.
I am an environmental engineer and expert in UV disinfection. In May 2021, my colleagues and I set out to accurately test various UV systems and see which was the most effective at killing off – or inactivating – SARS-CoV-2.