UV Lamp Which Kills Coronavirus Without Harming Humans Launched by Japanese Company

A Japanese lamp maker has launched an ultraviolet product which it claims can kill coronavirus without harming humans.

Ushio, said its "Care 222" UV lamp, which was developed with Columbia University, can be used to disinfect enclosed spaces where people frequently come in and out of—such as public transport and offices—by using a wavelength of 222 nanometers.

That wavelength is lower than the conventional 254 nanometer UV lights—used to disinfect unoccupied spaces such as empty hospital rooms—which are hazardous to humans.

The company said at 222 nanometers the UV rays are effective in killing the virus, but cannot damage humans eyes or skin, or cause genetic defects which may result in cancer.

When attached to a ceiling, Ushio said that the Care 222 can eliminate 99 percent of any virus or bacteria. The lamp can also kill viruses over an area of up to a three-square-meters on surfaces around two and a half meters away, reported The Japan Times.

Earlier this month, a study by the Hiroshima University found that when placed 24 cm away from a sample of the virus, the Care 222 light is effective at eliminating at least 99.7 percent of the SARS-CoV-2 samples—the virus causing the COVID-19 disease.

In June, a separate study conducted by Columbia University found that more than 99.9% of seasonal coronaviruses present in airborne droplets were killed when exposed to the 222 nanometers wavelength for around 25 minutes.

"Based on our results, continuous airborne disinfection with far-UVC light at the current regulatory limit could greatly reduce the level of airborne virus in indoor environments occupied by people," said the study's lead author David Brenner, Higgins Professor of Radiation Biophysics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Ushio said the lamp is being sold for ¥300,000 ($2,868). The firm said it was currently only accepting orders from medical institutions, but has plans to increase sales to other areas once production catches up with demand.

The product was recently included in Fortune's annual Change the World list, coming in at number 40.

"If there is an unsung hero in the global fight against COVID-19—and deadly pathogens, generally—it may be ultraviolet light," Fortune writes in its entry list.

"A few years ago [Ushio] hypothesized that such light could be used to prevent the transmission of airborne infectious diseases like influenza; it introduced a 222nm lamp in the U.S. in 2018.

"Now, COVID-19 has made the technology—which could be used in indoor spaces where the virus is thought to linger in the air—especially relevant."

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(File photo) A young boy has his hand examined by an ultraviolet light as a hygiene check on Global Handwashing Day on October 15, 2012 in Jakarta, Indonesia. A Japanese firm has invented an ultraviolet lamp that can kill the coronavirus without harming human health. Oscar Siagan/Getty