Can UV be utilized to battle the Delta Variant?
Chief Executive Officer, UVSheltron
Rear Admiral (Ret), U.S. Navy
There are many experts who say “yes,” and a call to action for use of UV devices against COVID-19 variants is starting to gain steam. In a July 16, 2021 article entitled “Exploring the Potential of Ultraviolet Light Disinfection” in Infection Control Today, Frank Diamond interviewed Ashish Mathur, PhD on the subject. Dr. Mathur is a corporate vice president of innovation and technology who obtained his doctorate in Polymer & Fiber Science at Cornell University. He highlighted the use of UV disinfection today in some hospital settings across the country and the demonstrated efficacy against hundreds of pathogens (viruses, bacteria, and mold).
According to Dr. Mathur:
“There’s so much evidence that has come out that UVC technology is actually so effective against SARS-CoV-2. That it is even more effective compared to SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome] CoV and MERS [Middle East respiratory syndrome] CoV in the past. Definitely much more effective for influenza. …… For example, in acute care hospitals, there is pressure to turn over a room. When a patient is leaving the room and next patient is coming in, they need to turn over the room pretty quickly … like maybe in 15 minutes or 30 minutes. These devices have to work very fast. That’s why they pack a lot of UV light on it so that they can disinfect in a very short period of time.”
Regarding the COVID-19 Delta Variant, Dr. Mathur was asked if UVC devices are effective. He stated:
“….And my answer is absolutely. And I think that’s the beauty of UVC light. The Delta variant has a different spike protein compared to the previous variants, but the core RNA structure is still the same. And how UVC works is it goes and penetrates this RNA structure and damages the RNA. That’s the backbone of the virus, and it breaks it down. It doesn’t really depend so much on what the spike proteins are. The mechanism of inactivation is really that it goes and breaks down the RNA structures. So as long as it’s not completely mutated, and the RNA structure is pretty much the same, UVC is going to be effective against the Delta variant. Most of these differences are really on the surface, the spike proteins and how they are arranged. The good thing is that viruses are, I would say, the easiest to inactivate compared to say some other bacteria and spores and mold for UVC.”
A call to action:
There is a ground swell of opinion that UV devices need to be added wholesale to the arsenal of existing products and protocol in the battle against COVID-19 and the associated variants. Paul Wallis is an author and an Editor-at-Large based in Sydney Australia for Digital Journal. In a July 19, 2021 OP-Ed entitled “Problem — The Delta variant of COVID and mixed messages about vaccination could sabotage recovery,” Mr. Wallis laments the COVID crisis currently facing Australia with the prospect of lockdowns to contain the spread. Mr. Wallis states:
“The main problem with this new variant is that it has the potential to derail the recovery very efficiently. The global vaccination program was a record-breaking effort. Multistage vaccination takes time. Time is exactly what the world doesn’t have. This new variant has the ability to outpace the vaccination program. Lockdowns are inevitable. In effect, this could be the real next round, ready or not.”
Mr. Wallis issued a call to action regarding UVC disinfection devices and the need to embed the technology in policy and protocol:
“….policy needs to work with medical realities and try to expand preventative options. Very little is being done about the baseline technologies like UVC, which can help to reduce circulating airborne viral populations by irradiation. What exactly is wrong with a safe, cheap, “area weapon” which is no more than a simple light, in public spaces? UVC is getting a lot of attention in the news and in the private sector, but not in policy. Why not? Any possible option has to be better than no options at all. If there is an easy way of managing this virus, it needs to be explored, preferably ASAP.”
- Aerosol Disinfection: Pure Air 500 & Pure Air 200—“Protected by UVSheltron ~ Powered by Zentox” These devices are the patented UV air purifiers called “Pure Air,” and they have been laboratory tested by the Public Health Agency of Canada. They come in two models and can disinfect rooms as large as 4,000 sq ft of airborne pathogens…. perfect for common spaces such as waiting rooms, cafeterias, and conference rooms. These devices draw in the contaminated air and use UV-A and a proprietary titanium dioxide catalyst to kill pathogens through Photocatalytic Oxidation…in other words, airborne organic pathogens, micro-bacteria, and other airborne substances are oxidized on the catalytic source. Clean air is then propelled into the space. They can run 24/7 and all operations are internal to the devices to include the UV light and oxidation. There are no harmful emissions such as Ozone or Hydrogen Peroxide. Pure Air purification systems are certified by the California Air Resources Board for meeting EPA ozone emissions safety standards for air purifiers.
- Surface Disinfection: UVSheltron has several types of surface disinfection devices:
- Illuminant-6 & Illuminant 3 Towers for space disinfection: We make 6-foot and a 3-foot towers called “Illuminant-6” and “Illuminant-3” respectively, and they can disinfect medium and large spaces up to 9,000 sq ft.
- Elide, Chamber, and Ark Cabinets for object disinfection: We make three cabinets or UVC boxes—”Elide,” "Chamber,” and “Ark.” They range from minifridge size for desktop devices – to – locker size cabinets for lab coats and first responder gear – to – the Ark that is big enough for wheelchairs and carts.
- Irrupt Handhelds for targeted disinfection: We have handheld devices called “Irrupt” and it looks like a 2-foot shop-light….it permits targeted disinfection and is very popular with vehicle fleets, fitness centers, bars, restaurants, and industrial maintenance lines.
How UVC works:
The devices work through Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI). UVGI uses the short-wavelength UV-C light to kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids--disrupting the RNA/DNA and leaving them unable to perform vital cellular functions. Our devices kill 99.99 percent of hundreds of pathogens (including viruses, bacteria and hard to kill mold & spores) without toxic chemicals.
Sources & Links:
- Frank Diamond, Exploring the Potential of Ultraviolet Light Disinfection, Infection Control Today, July 16, 2021;
- Paul Wallis, Op-Ed: Problem — The Delta variant of COVID and mixed messages about vaccination could sabotage recovery, Digital Journal, July 19, 2021;