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Can UV light help in the fight against COVID-19?

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

As schools prepare to resume classes this autumn and the UK economy continues to reopen, many organisations are backing a decades-old technology that could zap the virus pathogens out of the air in public places to help limit the spread of the infection.

Ultraviolet light was discovered in the late 19th century. There are several types of UV, UV-A and UV-B occur naturally from the sun's rays, AIRsteril technology generates UV-C otherwise known as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI). UV light works in a number of ways depending on what it’s acting upon. The most well-observed way it kills microorganisms is by damaging DNA. On a molecular level, UV breaks down the existing bonds in the DNA and causes new ones to form.

If DNA is the basic ‘code’ that allows living things to function and reproduce, the damage from UV light makes that code hard to ‘read.’ When it’s damaged enough, that microorganism can no longer survive or reproduce.

AIRsteril is an air purification system which can be used to protect offices, call centres, hotels, bathrooms, vehicles and care homes. Easy to install and maintain, it removes airborne microorganisms, viruses and particles in as little as 60 minutes.

AIRsteril uses a combination of air and surface purification technologies including germicidal irradiation (UVGI), photocatalytic oxidation, hydroxyl radicals, superoxide ions and optional ozone, to filter and kill airborne pathogens, viruses, bacteria, fungi, mould spores and allergens, at the same time removing unpleasant smells and harmful gases. Testing by the HPA and Leeds University found that airborne microorganisms were undetectable after just 60 minutes.

AIRSteril UK Distributor, CorrMed is seeing an increase in demand for the AIRSteril technology following the coronavirus pandemic. Katie Houghton, Managing Director of CorrMed says “The coronavirus pandemic has forced people to slow down and think about basic functions such as their cleaning protocols. We all took for granted that an environment was clean and ‘safe’, but that is not the case anymore. The installation of an AIRSteril device into any space not only provides cleaner, fresher air but kills up to 99.9% of viruses and bacteria giving you peace of mind for your staff, customers and students in the wake of the pandemic and beyond.”

UVGI was first commercially used in the USA in the 1920’s to control TB outbreaks, then it fell out favour when antibiotics were developed. However, the effectiveness of antibiotics is being challenged by resistant pathogens so the interest in the use of UVGI has recently increased worldwide.

There are various reports on the use of Air Purification systems to help protect against virus and bacteria in the air. The UK HM Government report on ‘working safely during Covid-19’ in offices and contact centres draws attention to the importance of ventilation, advising that good supply of fresh air needs to be provided.

For HSE, they advise centralised ventilation systems that remove and circulate air to different rooms to have recirculation turned off, and use a fresh air supply.

For many work places, the option of ventilation through opening windows is impossible and as autumn and then winter takes hold, we will battle between keeping warm and ventilating the room.

AIRsteril systems have been designed to create a photo plasma which works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to fill the room and decontaminate it. The odourless photo plasma produced by the UV system completely disinfects the air and exposed surfaces thus supporting the requirement for fresh, ventilated air.

The technology is not a total solution, however, since the virus can still be spread directly from one person to another through being too close to one another or sharing virus-contaminated tools, pencils, papers or other materials, regular surface cleaning and of course social distancing must continue to be adhered to.

If you would like to talk to one of our team about how to trial AIRSteril in your premises, then contact us on 01452 830269 or visit our website


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