UV disinfection should be used more in the fight against COVID-19 warns expert
22 February 2021
RICHARD LITTLE, managing director at Jenton International has warned that UV air disinfection is not being used in the fight against COVID-19 especially when there is a convincing argument - backed by sound evidence - for using it to improve air in a range of buildings and work environments including doctors waiting rooms, schools, offices and food processing plants, as well as HVAC applications.
UV itself has been used for disinfection applications for over 100 years and, according to Little, there is a massive body of evidence supporting it’s efficacy. It is mainstream for air disinfection in HVAC in the USA, Asia and Middle East with many many installations in schools, hospitals, offices and homes.
"In the past, we have always been astonished at how unresponsive the European market was in accepting the concept of simple wall units for NHS doctor’s waiting rooms, schools etc," said Little.
"The proven proposition was to stop people catching colds, flu and TB from each other – with regular coverage on the BBC as a ‘new concept’ and papers published in The Lancet and other publications to support this.
"However, this is nothing to how surprised we are this year, especially now that airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has been highlighted, with how reluctant UK state agencies are to use our simple and effective UV units in waiting rooms, schools and offices. Plus, we have much bigger UV disinfection systems for HVAC and food processing plants.
"Fresh air is important for diluting SARS-CoV-2 and reducing the risk of getting COVID-19. The HSE website clearly recommends that recirculating air conditioning is turned off. This is supported by the new government-issue film."
Asserting that there is no doubt that fresh air through an open window is best, Little added: "Our proposition has been that where fresh air isn’t available, or practical, in a food factory for example, UV disinfection the next best thing as you effectively ‘make your own fresh air.
"A McGill university paper published in The Lancet demonstrated in 2003 that UVC on its own in ducting in HVAC equipped offices could reduce sickness in buildings due to colds and flu by a useful 40%. This was without all the handwashing and mask wearing required during the pandemic so it is logical that combinations will be synergistic.
"In addition, a 2020 paper from Signify shows what was achieved in tests using UVC disinfection of SARS-CoV-2 at Boston University. This backs up previously calculated effects based on UVC’s performance against SARS-CoV-1 and surrogates which proved to be correct. It is evident that SARS-CoV-2 can be easily disinfected with UV. Clearly UV disinfection can’t do everything but it can make an effective contribution."