UV light sanitizer is one of the best means to take care of most human pathogens. It has been recommended to disinfect several kinds of objects like medical instruments, seats, tables, etc. It acts on any pathogen that contains nucleic acid as its genetic material. The effectiveness of UV-light for killing viruses like coronavirus is the need of the hour. The human coronavirus SARS-CoV2 has created a pandemic worldwide with no effective medication against it. Therefore, it is important to answer whether UV light sanitizer can be effective against the virus.

How does UV light kill pathogens?

UV light can be effective against any organism that contains nucleic acid as its genetic material. Most human pathogens like mesophilic bacteria, viruses and fungi contain nucleic acid as their genetic material. UV light causes mutations in the DNA. It can also cause double-strand breaks or the formation of adducts. It can also cause changes in the conformation in the protein. This DNA and protein are important for these pathogens’ lives, and any aberrations caused due to UV light can kill the pathogen.

However, it is important to remember that nucleic acid is the genetic material for humans as well. Therefore, humans must not get exposed to UV light during the disinfection processes.

Can UV light kill coronavirus, SARS-CoV2?

The million-dollar question in today’s world is how to kill coronavirus, SARS-CoV2. UV light can be effective in killing the coronavirus. It has been observed through experiments that UV light can effectively kill or inactivate the virus in liquid cultures in as little time as 9 minutes. It can also kill the virus on laboratory surfaces. Almost 99.7% reduction of viable coronavirus was observed due to UV exposure for 30 minutes.

A variant of UV light called far-UVC light has been found to disinfect air from two human coronaviruses called 229E and OC43. Both these viruses are the causative agent for the common cold in humans. Researchers believe that UV light can kill up to 99.9% coronavirus in air and can also be effective against SARS-CoV2.

How is UV light used for disinfection?

The application of UV light has not been recommended for humans for obvious reasons. They are mainly used to disinfect surfaces, equipment, PPE kit components like N95 masks, and even the whole room. They are an integral part of any tissue culture facility in any research laboratory.

UV light has been one of the main ideas to control coronavirus virulence. Although research is underway, several results have shown UV light as a promising target for controlling the virus’s spread and pathogenicity.