Why UV-C light will help healthcare get back to normal

One of the major issues in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic is the need to make healthcare environments as safe and virus-free as possible. The risk to staff and patients from COVID-19 is high and as the virus can survive for days on surfaces, part of the answer is to make sure thorough manual cleaning protocols are in place. However, these can be time consuming and in some cases unreliable.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus, such that even a miniscule amount of residual contamination puts healthcare workers and patients in danger. Studies have found that only 50% of hospital ward surfaces are adequately decontaminated with the use of manual chemical disinfection, so it’s clear that an alternative or additional approach is needed – and one of the frontrunners in the race to get the world back to normal is UV-C disinfection.

Disinfection using light has been around for a long time: in 1877 a paper in the journal Nature investigated the ability of sunlight to prevent the growth of microorganisms. During the past 10 to 15 years, UV has become increasingly popular as a tool for disinfecting healthcare settings, not least because, unlike some cleaning products, it is non-toxic. It is true that over-exposure can be damaging for humans but products such as our ELIPTIG® S and ELIPTIG® R are designed to be operated in a way that protects humans from exposure.

Scientific research has repeatedly demonstrated the power of UV disinfection in healthcare settings. For example, a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control in 2019 reported that UV disinfection technology eliminated up to 97.7% of pathogens in operating rooms. Many other studies have reached the same conclusion and crucially, a number of studies have demonstrated the efficacy of UV disinfection for eliminating various types of coronavirus.

UV-C exposure inactivates microbial organisms such as bacteria and viruses by altering the structure and the molecular bonds of their Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), destroying the organism’s ability to reproduce. It then dies leaving no offspring. It is a quick, safe solution that can work in everything from hospital wards and operating theatres to ambulances.

While the arrival of coronavirus vaccines heralds the beginning of a return to normality, the need for proper disinfection will continue – and the more efficiently this is done, the more rapidly ‘normal’ life will resume. UV-C disinfection is therefore a vital tool in the fight against COVID-19 that can enable healthcare staff and patients to enter healthcare settings with confidence.