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FAQs on Using UVC LEDs for Disinfection to Fight COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Klaran UVC LEDs

By Klaran

Healthcare professionals around the world are responding to a pandemic of respiratory disease spreading from person-to-person caused by a novel coronavirus. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans.

COVID-19 has prompted researchers, manufacturers, and consumers alike to search for practical solutions that can prevent the spread of this deadly virus. Crystal IS- manufacturer of Klaran UVC LEDs and systems for disinfection- has seen a surge in interest for our high-performance UVC LEDs to potentially combat the virus. This page provides answers to common questions about Klaran UVC solutions for disinfection and COVID-19.

What is COVID-19?

Severe Acute Respirator Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) is the newly discovered coronavirus responsible for the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

How Does COVID-19 Spread?

According to the CDC, Coronaviruses are generally thought to spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How Do UVC LEDs Disinfect Pathogens

UVC energy is absorbed by nucleic acids inside the RNA and DNA, resulting in covalent bonds which at the right dose can render the pathogen unable to reproduce and infect. The most effective germicidal wavelength occurs with a peak between 260 nm to 270 nm, the point at which DNA absorbs UV energy the most.

UVC energy is a commonly used sterilization technology that has been shown to inactivate a wide range of pathogens (e.g. MRSA, C. diff, E. Coli and Pseudomonas). For many years, UV mercury lamps were considered the best choice. However, lamps have several limitations, including low activity at refrigeration temperatures, fragile construction, long warm-up time, risk of mercury exposure, and limited UV emittance at 254 nm. In comparison, UV light-emitting diodes (UV LEDs) can be configured to emit at ideal germicidal wavelengths and provide reliable on-demand disinfection without the limitations which hamper mercury lamps.

Are UVC LEDs Effective Against COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

Crystal IS initiated a study with Boston University's National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) to understand how SARS-CoV-2 responds to ultraviolet light across the emission range of Klaran UVC LEDs (260 nm to 270 nm) and at varying doses. Exposing the virus to a 5 mJ/cm2 dose of UVC light at 268 nm resulted in a 2.8 log reduction of the virus. Read more about the results of this study, here.

Can UVC LEDs be Used to Disinfect N-95 Filter Respirators?

In general, this is not recommended, as noted here. Healthcare providers should contact respirator manufacturers for specific guidance and recommendations on whether and how to disinfect Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs).

However, the CDC has published guidance on managing respirators during pandemics, which include the reuse and extended use of respirators. Several studies have shown the effectiveness of UV germicidal irradiation to reduce viral load, although the studies did report potential damage to the fit of these respirators.[1, 2, 3]

Most recently, the University of Nebraska developed an N95 Filtering Facemask Respirator Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) Process for Decontamination and Reuse (source).

What Products Available Today Can Help to Combat COVID-19?

OEMs around the world trust Klaran UVC LEDs to provide effective surface disinfection in their products. For example, LED Tailor’s WiSDOM DS disinfection box-which is marketed to healthcare facilities- features Klaran UVC LEDs to combat dangerous pathogens on handheld devices.  Similarly, Klaran UVC LEDs are used in the CX1 disinfection cabinet by Cleanbox to disinfection hardware and other products with personal touch points.