COVID-19 has, sadly, tolled the bell for more than 2 million people worldwide. In an attempt to avoid this infection, we rightly social distance, wear masks, get tested and now sign up to be vaccinated. But despite these measures, the virus doesn't seem to be going away. Recent reports of several new mutations have amped up concern about a more rapid spread, more severe cases and potential resistance to vaccine-induced immunity. As Stephane Bancel, CEO of COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer Moderna, stated recently, "We are going to live with this virus, we think, forever."
While preventive measures do work to decrease density and intensity of hospital use and deaths from this infectious invader, innovative, long-term strategies are needed to truly minimize the psychological and real pain caused by this mutating virus. One such strategy lies in the power of 222, a specific wavelength of ultraviolet C (UVC) light.
The ability of ultraviolet light to kill viruses, bacteria and other disease-causing microorganisms has been known for more than 100 years - and it's the C spectrum of UV wavelengths that is the most potent killer of such infectious invaders. In fact, standard UVC (254 nm) is already in widespread use for food, air and water purification, and is used to sterilize hospital operating rooms, stores and factories overnight.
The limitation of standard UVC is that direct exposure to it can cause skin and eye damage. It can only be used in an enclosed area (such as an empty train car) when people are not present. This one-time cleaning is more than 99% effective in killing infectious pathogens, but only for that point in time. Once the sterilized space is occupied again, it is susceptible to contamination from any new occupant, and that contamination can then be spread to other people who enter the area.
To make sure indoor environments are virus-free, we need the ability to sanitize both air and surfaces rapidly and continually without harm to people in those spaces. And now we can.
A specific spectrum of the ultraviolet C wavelength, far-UVC 222 nm, is safe for people. Unlike standard UV light, it cannot penetrate living cells in our skin or tear film layers of the eye. A recent study, published in the journal Nature, was headed up by one of the world's leading UVC researchers, Dr. David Brenner of Columbia University. It found that "far-UVC light (207-222 nm) efficiently kills pathogens potentially without harm to exposed human tissues" - and that using the current regulatory exposure limit, it provides around 90% viral inactivation in about eight minutes and 99.9% inactivation in around 25 minutes. Another study from Hiroshima University that was published in the American Journal of Infection Control found that 222 "effectively kills SARS-CoV-2" while remaining safe for human exposure. It was the first research to prove 222's efficacy against the virus that causes COVID-19.
Masks, social distancing and vaccines help greatly, but there are limitations to each. And while there are other sanitizing technologies on the market today, such as HVAC, HVAC with UV and ion/ozone air purifiers, only far-UVC 222 meets all of the major criteria for a comprehensive, human-safe sanitizing solution that can be used in air and on surfaces.
By adding far-UVC as a complementary solution, everyone's safety can be greatly increased. This technology's real-time capabilities mean it can provide a constant source of cleaning for anyone and everyone in any environment, such as a restaurant, theater or school, and can help slow the spread of this and future viruses. Widespread utilization of far-UVC light (207-222 nm) might, just might, allow the economy to be almost oblivious to widespread infections such as COVID-19.
This column was written by Fred Maxik, a global expert on UV light, U.S. Presidential Champions of Change Award recipient, and founder and chief scientific officer of Healthe, Inc. and Dr. Michael Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus of the Cleveland Clinic and a Healthe Scientific Advisory board member. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.