Using UVC LEDs for Disinfection

Healthcare professionals around the world are responding to a pandemic of respiratory disease spreading from person-to-person caused by a novel virus. The virus causing the 2019 virus is not the same as the variant that commonly circulate among humans.

The pandemic has prompted researchers, manufacturers, and consumers alike to search for practical solutions that can prevent the spread of this deadly virus. There has been a surge in interest for our high-performance UVC LEDs to potentially combat the virus. This page provides answers to common questions about UVClean Health UVC-LED solutions for disinfection and the virus.

What is the 2019 Virus?

Newly discovered virus responsible for the 2019 novel disease. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

How Is It Spread?

According to the CDC, these viruses are generally thought to spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. It may be possible that a person can get it by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How Do UVC LEDs Disinfect Pathogens

UVC energy is absorbed by nucleic acids inside the RNA and DNA, resulting in covalent bonds which at the right dose can render the pathogen unable to reproduce and infect. The most effective germicidal wavelength occurs with a peak between 260 nm to 270 nm, the point at which DNA absorbs UV energy the most.

UVC energy is a commonly used sterilization technology that has been shown to inactivate a wide range of pathogens (e.g. MRSA, C. diff, E. Coli and Pseudomonas). For many years, UV mercury lamps were considered the best choice. However, lamps have several limitations, including low activity at refrigeration temperatures, fragile construction, long warm-up time, risk of mercury exposure, and limited UV emittance at 254 nm. In comparison, UV light-emitting diodes (UV LEDs) can be configured to emit at ideal germicidal wavelengths and provide reliable on-demand disinfection without the limitations which hamper mercury lamps.

Are UVC LEDs Effective Against It?

Studies have confirmed that UVC light can be effective for combating it (source). However, additional studies are needed to determine and confirm the specific dose response required to inactivate virus on different surfaces and materials.

Can UVC LEDs be Used to Disinfect N-95 Filter Respirators?

Healthcare providers should contact respirator manufacturers for specific guidance and recommendations on whether and how to disinfect Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs)/N 95s.

However, the CDC has published guidance on managing respirators during pandemics, which include the reuse and extended use of respirators. Several studies have shown the effectiveness of UV germicidal irradiation to reduce viral load, although the studies did report potential damage to the fit of these respirators.[1, 2, 3]

Most recently, the University of Nebraska developed an N95 Filtering Facemask Respirator Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) Process for Decontamination and Reuse (source).

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