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WATCH: Is UV light effective vs COVID-19?

Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - December 14, 2020 - 11:35am

MANILA, Philippines — In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection products have been increasingly marketed as a means of disinfecting different places from homes to offices.

Local and international organizations, however, warned against the dangers of misusing these products.

The local Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an advisory strongly recommending against the use of UV light for COVID-19 disinfection near or on human body parts.

It cited the World Health Organization (WHO), which said that UV radiation can cause skin irritation and eye damage.

WHO said that UV lamps in particular should not be used to disinfect hands or other areas of your skin.

The FDA also mentioned the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radition Protection (ICNIRP), which does not recommend that consumers use UV lamps in the home or elsewhere.

Among the reasons listed by the ICNIRP are high risk of overexposure to UVC with reported injuries, improper installation, emission of harmful ozone by some lamps, as well as lack of sufficient instructions on exposure time necessary to inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The United States FDA said the effectiveness of ultraviolet-C (UVC) lamps in inactivating SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is unknown because there is limited published data about the wavelength, dose and duration of UVC radiation required in the process.

The local Department of Health (DOH) similarly warned against the use of UV light for COVID-19-related disinfection due to insufficient evidence supporting its widespread use.

"Ang UV light po, wala pa ho tayong ganong sapat na ebidensya na talagang sinasabi directly na ito ay makakapagpatigil at makakapatay nitong SARS-CoV-2 virus,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

There is promise, nonetheless, for UV light as a tool for disinfection during the pandemic.

An in vitro (outside the living body and in an artificial environment) experiment by Hiroshima University researchers found a 99.7% reduction of viable SARS-CoV-2 after 30-second exposure to a certain dose.

“Further evaluation of the safety and efficacy of 222-nm UVC irradiation in reducing the contamination of real-world surfaces and the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is needed,” read the study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.  — Video by Efigenio Toledo IV

RELATED: WATCH: Don’t use face masks with valves!

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