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How Does Ultraviolet Radiation Inactivate Viruses?

In this post, we explore how Ultraviolet-C light kills or inactivates germs.

Ultraviolet radiation is the talk of town these days because of its numerous benefits. The Ultraviolet light is a non-visible form of electromagnetic light and it is divided into three types: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. The UV-A light has the largest wavelength while the UV-C features the shortest wavelength. The UV-C light has the most energy as compared to other radiations and thus it is the most powerful one when it comes to destroying the genetic material of the microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria. 

Though scientists have known about the disinfection capabilities of ultraviolet for years but recently its capability of killing the Coronavirus has brought it into the limelight. The radiation which hit the earth’s surface are UVA and UVB but these rays aren’t good for the skin and thus it is recommended to wear sunscreen when exposed to sunlight. The UV radiation that kills pathogens by inactivating them is UVC and it is being used as a disinfection tool during this pandemic. In this post we’ll tell you how the Ultraviolet-C light kills or inactivates the germs!

The mechanism of UVC light for killing the pathogens:

The UVC light kills or inactivates the microorganisms by damaging their DNA. The radiation basically initiates a reaction in the base of the molecule that makes DNA. The reaction occurs between the two molecules of thymine and the thymine dimer that is formed has a higher risk of a ‘missed’ or ‘incorrect repair’. As a result, the whole system of cellular reproduction is disrupted because of some remaining damage or incorrect repair. 

The microorganism can thus not carry out the normal cellular functions. If the damage is widespread or extensive, the cell dies. So, the main thing which ultraviolet light does to pathogens is that, it accumulates the DNA damage which eventually kills the cells. P53 is the gene product that checks for damage and slows down the cell cycle. If the damage is somewhat repairable, P53 sends a repair machinery but if it is too extensive, it ends in cell’s death. 

The UVC light can change the DNA and RNA of the viruses and bacteria and thus totally eradicating their ability to reproduce. Since viruses aren’t living organisms on a technical basis, we can say that the UVC light inactivates them technically. The Coronavirus is said to survive on various surfaces for around 3 days and it can easily travel through air too; the UV light is proving to be really handy as it can be used to disinfect the air and the surfaces. 

Can UV light damage the surfaces or materials?

The Ultraviolet radiation from sun can deteriorate the materials and surfaces. This is why things placed in sunlight for long appear to be damaged, their colors fade and especially the plastic material gets more brittle. However, UVC light is of shorter wavelength and it doesn’t penetrate the non-living cells. This is a relief for us as we have dead cells on the skin too, which prevent the UVC light to penetrate inside our body. The Anti-Germ Dome is proving to be beneficial in this regard as it keeps the door handles sanitized and germs-free all the time. If you have any questions regarding our product; how to use it and how the device could prove beneficial for your commercial building, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

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