Viruses spread primarily through three vectors:
- Direct airborne transmission between people – such as a cough or sneeze
- Indirect airborne transmission through air flows – such as circulated air in a building
- Indirect surface-borne transmission via contaminated surfaces – picking up an infected phone or piece of cutlery, for example:
One technology attracting interest is ultraviolet C (UV-C) lamps and luminaires. UV-C as a technology isn't new – it's been used in hospitals and agriculture for decades to disinfect equipment, food and produce. The power of UV-C lighting for disinfection is well known, with applications widely tested since the 1930s and 1940s. UV-C has been used for disinfection purposes across air, surfaces, objects, and water. With the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an acceleration of interest in this relatively under-sung technology. The technology has proven highly effective against all pathogens tested to date, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19.
At a wavelength of 254 nanometres, the UV-C light inactivates viruses and bacteria by breaking down their DNA and RNA, rendering them harmless. For example, recent research conducted by Boston University shows that more than 99% of the virus that causes Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) was inactivated after just six seconds of exposure to UV-C light sources.
For more than 35 years, Signify (the former Philips Lighting) has been at the forefront of UV technology and has a proven track record of innovation and strong application expertise in UV-C lighting. Recently, new families of UV-C products have been launched – from fixed and mobile units that disinfect the air in a room, to chambers that disinfect objects, to ceiling and wall-mounted luminaires that disinfect when no one is present.