Researchers from Tel Aviv University claim that they have found a way to significantly eliminate COVID-19. The new study found that UV-LED lights effectively, quickly, and inexpensively kill the coronavirus.
The promising study was published in the November 2020 issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology. The study attempted to find the disinfection efficiency of ultraviolet light-emitting diodes irradiation at different wavelengths or frequencies on the coronavirus. It is said to be the first of its kind in the world, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The research team said that the UV-LED lights required less than half a minute to destroy more than 99.9% of the coronaviruses.
The researchers set out to discover the optimal wavelength for killing coronavirus, and found that a length of 285 nanometers was almost as efficient in disinfecting the virus as a wavelength of 265 nm. The cost of 285 nm LED bulbs are 30% lower than that of 265 nm bulbs, plus they are reportedly more readily available.
From the scientific TAU study, which was a collaboration with Professor Yoram Gerchman of Oranim College; Dr. Michal Mandelboim, director of the National Center for Influenza and Respiratory Viruses at Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer; and Nehemya Friedman from Tel Hashomer:
UV light-emitting diodes (UV LEDs) are an emerging technology and a UV source for pathogen inactivation, however low UV-LED wavelengths are costly and have low fluence rate. Our results suggest that the sensitivity of human Coronavirus (HCoV-OC43 used as SARS-CoV-2 surrogate) was wavelength dependent with 267 nm ~ 279 nm > 286 nm > 297 nm. Other viruses showed similar results, suggesting UV LED with peak emission at ~286 nm could serve as an effective tool in the fight against human Coronaviruses.
"We discovered that it is quite simple to kill the coronavirus using LED bulbs that radiate ultraviolet light," said professor Hadas Mamane, head of the Environmental Engineering Program at Tel Aviv University's School of Mechanical Engineering. "We killed the viruses using cheaper and more readily available LED bulbs, which consume little energy and do not contain mercury like regular bulbs."
"The entire world is currently looking for effective solutions to disinfect the coronavirus," Mamane said. "Our research has commercial and societal implications, given the possibility of using such LED bulbs in all areas of our lives, safely and quickly.
"We know, for example, that medical staff do not have time to manually disinfect, say, computer keyboards and other surfaces in hospitals – and the result is infection and quarantine," Mamane explained. "The problem is that in order to disinfect a bus, train, sports hall, or plane by chemical spraying, you need physical manpower, and in order for the spraying to be effective, you have to give the chemical time to act on the surface.
"Disinfection systems based on LED bulbs, however, can be installed in the ventilation system and air conditioner, for example, and sterilize the air sucked in and then emitted into the room," Mamane said.
Ultraviolet radiation has been used as a common method of killing bacteria and viruses for years. This year, technology has utilized robots equipped with UV-LED lights.
The Carolina Panthers use two Xenex LightStrike robots that cost $125,000 each to sanitize locker rooms, showers, and other areas of the NFL team's Bank of America Stadium in downtown Charlotte.
The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office is utilizing a robot that kills viruses with ultraviolet light, and is capable of disinfecting 1,000 square feet in less than 10 minutes.
In March, a group of 13 researchers wrote an editorial in the journal Science Robotics:
Instead of manual disinfection, which requires workforce mobilization and increases exposure risk to cleaning personnel, autonomous or remote-controlled disinfection robots could lead to cost-effective, fast, and effective disinfection. New generations of robots, from macro- to microscale, could be developed to navigate high-risk areas and continually work to sterilize all high-touch surfaces.
In April, science and technology advisor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security secretary, William Bryan, said government scientists had found ultraviolet light showed promise in killing SARS-CoV-2.
"Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect that solar light appears to have on killing the virus, both surfaces and in the air," Bryan told reporters at the White House. "We've seen a similar effect with both temperature and humidity as well, where increasing the temperature and humidity or both is generally less favorable to the virus."