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UV Light Kills The Coronavirus By Rupturing Its DNA

A robot that eradicates coronavirus and other organisms by firing short-wave UV light at surfaces, disrupting their DNA, has been developed in Bahrain.

The light is so powerful that experts think it can kill up to 90 per cent of all organisms exposed to it within 30 minutes, in a process known as ‘ultraviolet germicidal irradiation’.

Designed by Fab Lab Bahrain, the machine is currently being tested in industrial environments before it is released ‘as soon as possible’.

UV Light Kills The coronavirus By Rupturing Its DNA

A spokesman told MailOnline that the price will be made available once the machine is on sale.

The invention follows the release of several other machines that use UV radiation to clean viruses from surfaces.

MIT in Massachusetts, US, has developed a short-wave UV robot to clean surfaces at a food bank.

Denmark-based company UVD Robots also makes a UV light machine that treats rooms in up to 20 minutes, and costs £53,370 ($67,000).

And Chinese company Keenon Robotics has launched a robot, which uses UV light and disinfectant to clean surfaces, priced at £32.300 ($40,000).

Video footage shows the prototype robot rolling between office desks, chairs and computers, illuminating each with a powerful blue UV light.

Humans have to stay out of the room as it works, because the light is so powerful it could also harm human cells.

UVD Robotics vice president Simon Ellison told the BBC that after treating a room the machines leave a strange smell, much like burnt hair.

UV light kills the virus by disrupting its membrane, causing its DNA to break apart.

‘That UV light inactivates SARS-CoV-2 is not surprising,’ said Paul Hunter, professor at the University of East Anglia.

‘UV inactivates most viruses very efficiently. Indeed UV disinfection is widely used for disinfection of drinking water.

‘Given the nature of coronaviruses we would expect them to be especially sensitive to disinfection by either hypochlorite (bleach) or UV light.’

The developers said the machine will need to work alone, as its light is so strong it could also damage human cells.

The invention follows on from the launch of machines in the US that use UV light to clean surfaces. Pictured is one built by the MIT lab cleaning a food bank in Massachusetts

A Chinese company has also unveiled a robot that disinfects using UV light and sprays

Bahrain has already rolled out two robots using UV light on isolation wards in hospitals.

These machines were designed to speak 12 languages, check body temperatures, respond to voice commands from staff and use facial recognition to identify patients.

Dr Waleed Al Manea, from Bahrain’s Health Ministry, dubbed these machines a ‘medical revolution’.

‘We have started using the robots in the isolation and treatment facilities as part of the experimental phase to use AI in the health sector,’ he said.

‘It is certainly a new medical revolution and we want to see how this benefits patients and staff.

A robot with UV light disinfects the headquarters of SK Telecom in South Korea

The US army has also purchased a platoon of UV robots, pictured with their lights hidden under mannequins, that will be used to disinfect areas and equipment

‘This new technology will help doctors and nurses as they can evaluate the effectiveness of the robots and help incorporate them in their daily work.’

The NHS deployed its first robot to clean wards using UV light at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, in 2016.

It is unclear whether more have been invested in to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.


A bus is disinfected in Shanghai, China

A bus is disinfected in Shanghai, China

It has long been known that UV light has a sterilising effect because the radiation damages the genetic material of viruses and their ability to replicate.

Most viruses – such as SARS-CoV-2 – are covered with a thin membrane that is easily broken apart by UV rays.

Paul Hunter, a professor in medicine at University of East Anglia said: ‘That UV light inactivates SARS-CoV-2 is not surprising. UV inactivates most viruses very efficiently. Indeed UV disinfection is widely used for disinfection of drinking water.

‘Given the nature of coronaviruses we would expect them to be especially sensitive to disinfection by either hypochlorite (bleach) or UV light.’

Dr Penny Ward, chair of the Education and Standards Committee of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine at King’s College London said: ‘UV irradiation and high heat are known to kill virus particles on surfaces and coronavirus particles are no exception to this general rule.’

A robot is shown disinfecting a surface with UV light in Sk Telecom headquarters, Seoul

UV radiation is present in sunlight, and scientists say there is a lower risk of catching the coronavirus outdoors than indoors for this reason.

Keith Neal, an emeritus professor in the epidemiology of infectious diseases, University of Nottingham, explained that sunlight damages DNA and RNA in the virus, which would kill it.

‘How quickly in affects COVID-19 I have not seen any work, but viruses left on surfaces outside will dry out and be damaged by UV light in sunlight,’ he told MailOnline.

A Columbia University study published in Scientific Reports two years ago showed UV light can kill more than 95 per cent of pathogens like the coronavirus.

There hasn’t been any evidence of its sterilising effects on SARS-CoV-2. But scientists say the technology will still work as the virus is closely related to others killed by the light.


Source: dailymail



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