Does UV light kill the coronavirus?
UV light has been shown to destroy other coronaviruses, so it will probably work on the novel coronavirus. But UV light damages human skin, so it should only be used on objects or surfaces.
UVC light is used to disinfect objects and surfaces.
Ultraviolet (UV) light is produced by the sun and by special lamps. There are three types of UV light—UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC light has the most energy of the three types. This energy destroys the genetic material inside viruses and other microbes. Therefore, UVC light is used for disinfection. UVC lamps and robots are commonly used to sanitize water, objects such as laboratory equipment, and spaces such as buses and airplanes.
It is not safe to use UV sanitizers on your body.
Exposure to UVC light is dangerous for people.
- UVC sanitizers can damage your eyes and skin.
- UV light can cause cancer.
- Scientists are exploring ways to use a specific type of UVC light for devices that could be safe for humans. However, existing products are not safe to use on your body.
Sunlight does not destroy the coronavirus quickly.
UVC light from the sun is blocked by Earth’s atmosphere. When you go outside on a sunny day, the UV light that reaches you is UVA and some UVB. These types of UV light do not destroy viruses quickly.
- Going outside on a sunny day will not quickly break down coronaviruses on skin. But it can give you a sunburn if you are not wearing sunscreen!
- Some viruses are seasonal and spread more slowly in the summer. This is probably due to warmer temperatures, higher humidity, and changes in human behaviors—not because it is sunnier in the summer.
- The best ways to protect yourself from COVID-19 are to wash your hands, keep your distance from other people, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
How Ultraviolet Light Could Help Stop The Spread Of Coronavirus
Though ultraviolet light cannot be used in or on the human body to cure Covid-19, it is an effective tool that has been in use for decades in hospitals and operating rooms to sterilize surfaces. Technological breakthroughs in UV light could become a key tool used to help stop the spread of Covid-19.