With the current Coronavirus pandemic in South Africa, UV-C has become more known as a method to disinfect home and office spaces.
UV-C harnesses the power of ultraviolet (UV) light radiation to inactivate microorganisms by rearranging the nucleic acids of their DNA and RNA strands.
The damaging effect of UV-C radiation on organisms is known for over 100 years. In 1878, Arthur Downes and Thomas P. Blunt published a paper describing the sterilization of bacteria exposed to short-wavelength light.
UV-C is also known to cause Photo Keratitis (damage to the eye) in humans. This risk to the human eye can be managed safely and efficiently by wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment.
With the influx of UV-C equipment in Southern Africa, it is essential to note that there are cheap alternatives, usually imported, that do not meet the required specifications to inactivate viruses. The correct dosage needs to be applied to achieve the expected results.
When purchasing, the right equipment needs to be chosen for the specific need, for example, buying a UV-C disinfection light that is not powerful enough for a particular sized area.
The potential for UV-C to become a very widely used method of disinfection going forward is enormous, especially with the development of far UV-C. Far UV-C is believed to be safe around humans and animals, which will allow UV-C devices to be in use in areas with human and animals present.