New Type of UV Bulb Can Kill Viruses Without Hurting Humans

Tests are being carried out by experts on a new type of ultraviolet lamps that can kill harmful viruses and can be placed at stations, airplanes and schools.

For years, Researchers at Columbia University have been devising on such uses and the corona pandemic could be a good chance to test them. The UVC lamps, for a while now, have been used to exterminate bacteria, viruses and molds mostly in hospitals and the food-processing industry.

Experts at Columbia’s Center for Radiological Research are studying whether UVC rays, when used at 222 nanometers, are safe for humans but still deadly to viruses, said David Brenner, the center’s director. He said that at this frequency, the rays can’t penetrate the surface of the skin nor the eye.

“We were thinking, how we can apply what we are doing to the current situation,” Brenner said.

The lab, for the past 40 weekends, has tested the far-UVC rays on mice for “eight hours a day, five days a week, at intensities 20 times higher than we might think of using with humans.” After these tests, the eyes and skin of the mice were tested and Brenner said, “we have found absolutely nothing; the mice are very happy — and very cute as well.” The tests will be carried out for another 20 more weeks.

The results can’t be validated by the scientific community at large until all the steps have been taken although the team has sent the preliminary results to the journal Nature.