UV-C Disinfection For COVID-19 Variants

Discover how to sanitize and disinfect indoor spaces against COVID-19 variants Delta and Omicron using UV-C.

January 9, 2022
Last Updated On:
May 3, 2022
Last Updated On:
May 3, 2022

With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and variants of SARS-CoV-2 sweeping across the globe, businesses, organizations, schools, and institutions are seeking solutions to keep their facilities virus-free. With hospital-grade disinfection technologies now widely available, many facility managers are looking toward UV-C disinfection as a way to thwart the spread of COVID-19.

UV-C disinfection devices have long been known to be effective in deactivating and eliminating viral, bacterial, and fungal organisms. Used primarily in healthcare settings, UV-C is consistently a component of infection prevention protocols. Read on to learn more about UV-C disinfection and how it can be used to combat the Omicron and Delta COVID-19 variants.

Does UV-C Disinfection Eliminate COVID-19?

The CDC, public health, and scientific communities have all agreed in favor of using safe UV-C disinfection solutions to mitigate COVID-19 transmission. According to the CDC, an accessible solution to eliminating COVID-19 with UV-C is through UVGI devices. In combination with ventilation best practices and PPE protocols, UVGI can effectively reduce the presence of COVID-19 viral particles within indoor spaces.

Additionally, the use of direct UV-C irradiation also has proven efficacy against the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus. According to a peer-reviewed Scientific Report, a small dose of UV-C irradiation (3.7 mJ/cm2) is sufficient enough to deactivate COVID-19 present within an indoor environment.

Has UV-C Disinfection Been Tested Against Omicron or Delta COVID-19 Variants?

Currently, no UV-C devices on the market have been tested for efficacy against the Omicron or Delta COVID-19 variants. The limited viral samples of these COVID-19 variants are strictly being used for testing life-saving vaccines, booster shots, and studies into the mutation and transmission nature of these variants.

However, current studies demonstrate that the Omicron and Delta variants are similar to the original SARS-CoV-2 strain (the virus that causes COVID-19). The World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state that the practices and mitigation methods recommended for the original COVID-19 variant can help reduce exposure to the Omicron and Delta Variants. One infection prevention measure includes disinfecting the air and surfaces with UV-C light.

UV-C Stand-Alone UV Disinfection Lamps Hospital

What Is UV-C? And How Does It Compare To UVB, UVA, and Far UV-C Light?

UV-C light refers to a section of wavelengths of the ultraviolet light spectrum, specifically 100-290nm. UV-C light disinfection devices frequently use UV-C bulbs that produce 254nm light due to their high efficacy in inactivating pathogens. Additionally, UV light disinfection devices commonly also use UVB light (290-320nm) or UVA light (320-400nm). However, studies indicate UVB and UVA light to be ineffective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

UV-C light at 222nm, known as "Far UV-C Light," is also used in UV-C disinfection devices. 222nm UV-C light has been proven in recent studies to be effective against airborne novel human coronaviruses. Unlike 254nm UV-C light, "Far UV-C Light" can be used in occupied spaces as it does not cause harm to human tissues.

What Types Of UV-C Disinfection Systems Exist?

When it comes to disinfecting your facility, no solution is more comprehensive and trusted than UV-C light. UV-C light devices are available in multiple forms depending on disinfection needs and operational protocols. See below the top 3 form factors for UV-C light disinfection systems.

Stand-alone UV-C Lamps:

One of the most common UV-C light devices is stand-alone UV-C lamps. These lamps are often configured with a singular or multi-bulb set up to provide direct or 360 degrees of UV-C disinfection. Commercial-use stand-alone UV-C lamps are engineered for controlled usage with comprehensive safety features for operator protection.

These multi-bulb UV-C lamps are often mobile, allowing cleaning staff to wheel the device between disinfection locations. Industries such as healthcare, hospitality, and schools tend to use these commercial-grade stand-alone UV-C lamps.

Autonomous UV-C Robots:

With continued technological advancements, a new entry to the UV-C disinfection market has been autonomous robots. Developed by world-renowned robotics companies, these UV-C systems are revolutionizing infection prevention. Using the same multi-bulb approach as commercial UV-C lamps, these robots can provide thorough UV-C disinfection without the need for direct human operation.

After completing an initial 3D map of the desired interior spaces, an operator can set preset disinfection schedules to auto-run when the facility is unoccupied. These UV-C robots are also packed with advanced safety features to ensure the protection of system operators. Advanced UV-C robots such as Sanalife's UVD Robot Model C, use perimeter safety, PIR sensors, and thermal imaging to detect people and shut-off to prevent UV-C exposure.

Upper-Room Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) Systems:

Amongst all UV-C-based disinfection systems, UVGI systems are backed by the longest history of safety and efficacy in eliminating pathogens. Recommended strongly by the CDC as a method of viral mitigation, UVGI systems are commonly used in educational, healthcare, workplace settings. When installed along the top part of walls, upper UVGI systems create a disinfection zone with UV-C light safely above occupancy level.

Combining high-circulation fans with UV-C disinfection, UVGI systems are able to increase air exchanges while eliminating airborne pathogen particulate. The CDC recommends UVGI systems for indoor spaces with a high risk of airborne COVID-19 transmissions such as cafeterias/break rooms, restaurants, lobbies, workspaces, and classrooms.

Upper-Room Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) Disinfection Zone
(Source: CDC) Upper-Room Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) Disinfection Zone

UV-C Is An Important Infection Prevention Measure

With the versatility of UV-C disinfection robots, stand-alone lamps, and UVGI systems, UV-C is the perfect solution to broaden infection prevention measures. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve with the Omicron and Delta variants, UV-C can play a critical role in mitigating spread through disinfecting indoor environments.

Sanalife's UVD Robot is a fully autonomous system capable of delivering fast, chemical-free, hospital-grade UV-C disinfection. Our robot was designed to disinfect large areas such as healthcare facilities, offices, hotels, airports, cruise ships, shopping malls, grocery stores, and more. If you are seeking viral prevention solutions for your school, office, business, organization, then you should consider Sanalife's UVD Robot for your UV-C disinfection solution.

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