UV-emitting LED lights can kill novel coronavirus, say scientists
New York: Ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diodes (UV-LEDs) can kill the novel coronavirus efficiently, quickly, and cheaply, according to a study which says the new innovation could be installed in air conditioning and water systems.
The research, published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, assessed the disinfection efficiency of UV-LED irradiation at different wavelengths on a virus from the family of coronaviruses, which includes the COVID-19-causing SARS-CoV-2.
"The entire world is currently looking for effective solutions to disinfect the coronavirus," said Hadas Mamane, co-author of the study from the American Friends of Tel Aviv University in the US.
In order to disinfect a bus, train, sports hall, or plane by chemical spraying, the scientists said physical manpower is needed along with time for the chemicals 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 sterilise the air sucked in and then emitted into the room," Mamane said.
"We discovered that it is quite simple to kill the coronavirus using LED bulbs that radiate ultraviolet light. We killed the viruses using cheaper and more readily available LED bulbs, which consume little energy and do not contain mercury like regular bulbs," she added.
The scientists believe the research has commercial and societal implications, given the widespread use of such LED bulbs.
With necessary adjustments, they said the bulbs can be installed in air conditioning, vacuum, and water systems, and thereby be able to efficiently disinfect large surfaces and spaces.
The researchers said the system must be designed so that a person is not directly exposed to the light, adding that it is very dangerous to use the UV-LED to disinfect surfaces inside homes.