Dose Factors Heavily into Ultraviolet Disinfection System Design
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” the old adage goes, but it is the unseen ultraviolet (UV) component of sunlight that really gets the job done. Early discoveries of UV light’s disinfecting power 150 years ago led to the development of modern ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) systems that combat any number of dangerous pathogens. For pandemics of the past, this disinfection technique was not available; however, diseases traveled the globe more slowly, limited by the fastest mode of travel at the time. Today with modern air travel, we have seen the COVID-19 pandemic traverse the globe in a matter of days. It has been roughly 100 years between the Spanish Flu and COVID-19 pandemics; however, outbreaks are far more common, as we have experienced several near misses in the last 20 years, such as the swine flu, bird flu, and SARS.
Another area driving the need for UVGI is the growing development of antimicrobial-resistant (AR) pathogens. All microorganisms can develop a form of AR, with the most common form being antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic-resistant pathogens, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), render typical antibiotic treatments less effective because the pathogen has acquired a chemical resistance to the drug. UVGI combats these organisms in the environment without producing a resistant strain. Continuing innovations in UV light sources will help increase the safe application of the technology in the ever-widening UV disinfection market.
UV radiation, when suitably applied, delivers powerful disinfection and protection against antimicrobial-resistant pathogens, with effective design demanding a full understanding of light-source features and limitations. Read the January / February 2021 issue of LEDs Magazine to learn more about the various UV sources for germicidal disinfection and the critical factors for determining a UVGI solution’s effectiveness from OmniCure UV Curing experts Pamela Lee and Marvin Ruffin.
View it online at LEDs Magazine by clicking here.