Coronavirus is the fatal virus humanity has ever seen. It killed about 8 91,000 people and is spreading enormously. Scientists across the planet are working to find a solution to this deadly disease. In between this, there are many misconceptions or doubts are arising regarding the COVID-19 viruses. These misconceptions or false news are affecting many people in a pretty bad way. The WHO, as well as the associated healthcare organizations, are working their best to remove doubts to make people clear about everything. One of the doubts that arise is Can ultraviolet light can kill coronavirus. Before that, let us know something about the ultraviolet light.
Use of ultraviolet light
Ultraviolet light is a part of electromagnetic radiation coming from the sun and have different wavelengths and frequencies. They have both particle and wave nature, a broad range spectrum that consists of seven regions, including the ultraviolet region. The Ultraviolet region falls in the range between visible light and x – rays. It has a wavelength of about 380 nanometers.
UV Light Influencing The DNA
Ultraviolet rays have germicidal properties. That means it can kill germs. By destroying germs, it means that it deactivates the DNA of the bacteria, virus, fungus, and other pathogens and thereby destroys their ability to replicate and cause disease. Mainly ultraviolet – C light induces damage to the nucleic acid of pathogens by forming covalent bonds in between some adjacent bases in DNA.
By forming such bonds, it will prevent the microorganism from replicating by preventing the zipping of DNA strands. Thus it will be unable to replicate or reproduce. That means that the microorganism will try to reproduce but eventually dies. Ultraviolet technology can be called as a non – chemical method for disinfection. In this type of disinfection, no chemical or other substances are added, makes this method simple, inexpensive, and requires low maintenance.
Ultraviolet radiation and coronavirus
Ultraviolet radiation is used from older times to kill pathogens. But the question is, does it help to kill COVID – 19 virus. The most straightforward answer will be yes. But there are some factors to be followed for using ultraviolet radiations to destroy COVID – 19 viruses. The procedure is often known as Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), a disinfection method that uses ultraviolet rays having a shorter wavelength to kill the pathogen by destroying their nucleic acid or DNA. These devices can produce intense UV – C light that circulates in light or air to make the environment not hospitable for the growth of microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, etc. This method has been accepted in the 20th century itself. And are mainly used for medical sanitation and sterilizations. To destroy COVID – 19 viruses by ultraviolet radiation it requires correct dosage and a complex mechanism which have to be done under proper guidance. That means many of the small ultraviolet light devices cannot kill the deadly coronavirus. Ultraviolet radiations can be classified into 3:
- Ultraviolet A
- Ultraviolet B
- Ultraviolet C
Most of the UV radiation we receive from the sun reaches the earth is ultraviolet A (UV-A). It can penetrate deep into the skin. The ozone in the earth atmosphere, a layer absorbs most of the Ultraviolet B and Ultraviolet C.
Ultraviolet B can also reach the skin, which can cause sunburn or long exposure can give cancer. From these three types of radiation, ultraviolet C has a shorter wavelength and higher energy. They hardly reach the skin, since the ozone layer filters them out. And these can be used as disinfection.
Ultraviolet C radiation has a wavelength of about 254 nanometers. It is successively used to destroy H1N1 influenza and also has the power to destroy other coronaviruses such as SARS – CoV and MERS – CoV, which causes acute respiratory infections. The studies show that ultraviolet C can also destroy SARS – CoV – 2.
Ultraviolet C mainly works as a disinfectant because its wavelength 254 nanometers can cause lesions in DNA or RNA of the pathogen. When the pathogen is exposed to the required amount of ultraviolet C radiation, it can destroy the DNA, which prevents the pathogen from replication and thereby eventually killing the pathogen.
This ultraviolet C radiation becomes so crucial during the current situation because it has a non – contact nature and is generally easy to use. But the proper and precise use of this radiation is essential and other than the pros, and it also has some cons like, since it can destroy the DNA, it can be harmful when exposed to humans.
Ultraviolet C can damage eyes and skin. So the ultraviolet disinfection technologies have to be done very carefully in very well equipped labs under the guidance of professionals. It must be used in a protected environment under the guidance of experts in photomedicine and photobiology. This means that the home-based ultraviolet radiation lamps are not guaranteed to kill coronavirus.
To destroy a deadly virus like the coronavirus it requires maybe a very high dosage of ultraviolet radiation. If we take care of like highly porous N95 masks, it requires a high dosage to kill viruses like SARS. This high dosage cannot be expected from home-based ultraviolet radiation lamps.
To determine the right dosage of ultraviolet radiation to be used, there are some factors like the type of object that is being disinfected, the shape of the material the virus got attached, the condition and geometry of the room, time, etc. Mainly ultraviolet C radiation is used to disinfect the PPE and but not recommended for sanitizing our hands since the exposure can cause cancer and can also destroy the DNA structure.