Study Suggests LED’s Can Attack COVID-19

–  Teresa Madaleno:

Sparta’s Illumineris division is in the business of helping commercial and industrial operations run more efficiently, reduce their carbon footprint, and save money. Part of the company’s product offering is high-quality LED lighting systems that consume a lot less electricity than conventional lighting. However, until recently, it didn’t really occur to the Sparta team that light emitting diodes could also help fight germs.

Now, the world is learning that researchers at the Tel Aviv University have demonstrated that coronavirus can be quickly and cheaply destroyed using ultraviolet light-emitting diodes (UV-LED’s). It is the first study of its kind on the disinfection ability of UV-LED irradiation at different wavelengths on a virus from the family of coronaviruses. The findings were published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology

The researchers found that a length of 285 nanometers was almost as effective as a wavelength of 265 nm and took less than 30 seconds to destroy more than 99.9 percent of the virus. The wavelength is important because some lengths are cost prohibitive. In this case, the 285 nm LED bulbs cost much less than the 265 nm LED.

Some lighting experts are saying that LED bulbs can be added to ventilation systems and air conditioners to help sterilize the air, but more research is needed. Still, the Tel Aviv researchers are hopeful that one day the bulbs will be installed in all kinds of equipment, from air conditioners to vacuums and water systems.

We caution anyone that it can be dangerous to try to disinfect your home or office using LED’s right now. You require a properly designed system that doesn’t expose you directly to the light. In the meantime, Sparta is exploring the use of Hypochlorous Acid (HOCI) as a germ fighter since it can be applied through airborne delivery, thus freeing up the usual time and manpower needed for people to apply traditional antimicrobials to indoor surfaces. As Sparta is a proponent of LED technology, its executive team will be eagerly waiting to hear where the Tel Aviv researchers will take their new discovery in the coming months and years.

The LED/Coronavirus study was led by Professor Hadas Mamane, Head of the Environmental Engineering Program at TAU’s School of Mechnical Engineering, Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering.