A Japanese company built a UV lamp that can destroy Coronavirus present on surfaces without harming humans. Care 222 being demonstrated in a dark space. (Image credit: Toshiba)
In a world where people are still dying from being infected by the Coronavirus, it is vital to tackle the disease from all fronts: on surfaces, outside the body, in the air, every front until we find a vaccine. One of the many contributors to the fight, Ushio Inc., a company specialized in light making, wants to use UV light to sanitize spaces where the virus can spread quickly due to the volume of people utilizing those spaces.
There are three types of UV light commonly used: UVA, UVB and UVC. For decades now, UVC, the most effective of the 3 types, has been used in the healthcare industry to kill off and stop the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. UVC light has been nicknamed the germicidal light. According to the FDA, UVC is effective in destroying the outer protein layer of the SARS-Cov-2 virus, which ultimately leads to its destruction, but only when the virus is exposed directly to the light. Besides, the current UVC lamps sold for home use offer only a low dose of light, so it requires a long application to a surface in order to be effective against Covid-19. In other words, it makes sense for a company to create a UV light product to aid the fight against COVID-19 if they can address those limitations.
Ushio Inc. created the Care 222 UV lamp in collaboration with researchers at Columbia University. The lamp is meant to disinfect high foot traffic spaces such as buses, elevators and offices as it would be easier to be exposed to the virus in those places. In the past, the sterilization with a UV lamp could only happen when there was no human being in the space to be disinfected. Otherwise, people could develop skin cancer and vision problems from the radiation. Ushio, Inc. solves that issue by lowering the wavelength of its product to 222 nanometers from the conventional 254 nanometers. The research team explained that, at that wavelength, Care 222 cannot penetrate the human skin and, therefore, cannot cause any damage.
The Care 222 must be attached to the ceiling of the space to be disinfected. At a weight of 1.2 KG, the Care 222 is light enough to be carried around easily but powerful enough to kill about 99 percent of germs in a 3-square-meter space, both in the air and on the surface of objects. A research team of the Hiroshima University tested Care 222 and found that it was effective, even on surfaces placed 8.2 feet away from the lamp. Unfortunately, Care 222 is only offered to the medical field at the moment and sells for ¥300,000 or about $2,850. At that price tag, it’s hard for many households to own Care 222. But Ushio Inc. is partnering with Toshiba lighting and technology Corp., a branch of Toshiba Corp., to offer alternatives.
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