Researchers testing light technology that could protect against the next pandemic

New know-how might add one other layer of safety towards the subsequent pandemic by merely turning on a light-weight. Researchers are exploring a brand new approach of utilizing ultraviolet gentle to make indoor air safer.

“It has been recognized for 80 years or in order that ultraviolet gentle can kill micro organism and inactivate viruses within the air so that they are not infectious,” Don Okay. Milton, professor of occupational and environmental well being on the College of Maryland Faculty of Public Well being, informed CBS Information.

Standard UV-C gentle has been used extensively in locations like hospitals, homeless shelters and prisons. However that standard UV gentle can harm the pores and skin and eye, so shouldn’t be shined straight at folks.

A shorter wavelength — known as Far UV-C — cannot get previous the highest layers of the pores and skin or the tear layer of the cornea.

Milton envisions transportable units, like one developed for the Pentagon or ones mounted in ceilings and pointed downwards, to restrict the unfold of pathogens in locations the place folks collect. They’re already being utilized in some eating places, airports and buses.

“We might be placing these into locations the place folks collect, decreasing the flexibility of the virus to transmit in these congregate settings,” he stated.

David Michaels, a professor of environmental and occupational well being at George Washington College, informed CBS Information that he hopes the know-how might be a part of a layer of safety towards airborne pathogens that features air flow, filtration, masks and vaccination.

“You may’t simply say, ‘put on a masks, get vaccinated.’ Acquired to verify the air is clear, the air is secure. And Far UV-C is one software that is actually very efficient,” Michaels stated. “You want layered safety. And we all know which you can have super-spreader occasions in indoor areas the place everyone is vaccinated they usually’re examined. So we’ve got to do higher.”

Michaels, the previous assistant labor secretary for the Occupational Security and Well being Administration below the Obama administration, stated he expects skilled organizations to concern security suggestions round Far UV-C know-how earlier than it will get authorities approval.

“OSHA’s not going to offer regulatory approval, however OSHA will hopefully finally say that is one factor you’ll be able to embrace. However OSHA does not give approval to anyone know-how. OSHA says it is as much as the employer to determine the best way to make it work . And listed below are some choices,” he informed CBS Information.

“I am hoping that OSHA strikes rapidly to make these necessities, not only for germicidal UV, however throughout the board, as a result of proper now OSHA does not have an ordinary for airborne infectious illnesses.”

CBS Information reached out to OSHA, and the company pointed to its present steering on defending workers within the office.

“OSHA is presently engaged on an infectious illness customary that, if adopted, would handle airborne pathogens in each well being care and different high-risk settings,” a spokesperson from the US Division of Labor informed CBS Information.

The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention informed CBS Information that latest analysis on Far UV-C has been promising, however extra analysis is required. The Meals and Drug Administration stated long-term security knowledge is missing.

“I am a scientist and there is at all times one other query I wish to reply, however I feel the dangers are minimal and some great benefits of this know-how are enormous,” Milton stated about whether or not he thinks the know-how is prepared. “And so we have to start utilizing it some extra.”

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