A company in Twente, the Netherlands, hopes to use ultraviolet (uv-licht) to solve the problem of the new coronavirus, which is called an "ideal solution". A reporter from the Dutch local media interviewed the company's manager.
This week, LED sign in Hengelo, the Netherlands, was equipped with equipment that claimed to purify polluted air. Mark Vreeswijk, a 32-year-old young manager, said it was not without controversy.
Reporter: Tell us, how can ultraviolet light (UV) help deal with the new coronavirus?
Mark: Actually very simple. Ultraviolet light is a proven technology that has been used for many years to clean drinking water or disinfect medical equipment. For this, a certain type of light is used, so-called UV-C. The great thing is that this ultraviolet radiation also seems to react with certain types of coronavirus in the air, which can make the virus useless. In crowded places, such as the waiting room of a dentist, this is an ideal solution that often needs to purify the air, reducing the chance of spreading. This is why we have now designed an ultraviolet disinfection system that hangs from the ceiling and disinfects the air.
Reporter: The second question. The WHO warns that exposure to ultraviolet radiation is dangerous and that a few seconds of radiation can cause burns.
Mark: You must use it with caution. This principle applies to everything. You don’t have to drink a whole bottle of disinfectant, right? We have two types. One has a direct effect and emits blue light. For example, in a barber shop, you can kill all the bacteria that fell on it within fifteen minutes. No one should stand there, because ultraviolet radiation is unhealthy. The device contains a motion sensor, which will receive a signal when there are any moving objects and stop the emission of light. Our second type is the version in a closed enclosure that can purify all the air passing through it and can continue to operate, such as in a dentist's clinic. The speed is slow, but it can be used at any time of the day.
Reporter: Suppose you hang the UV lamp in the meeting room, what is the cost? What is produced? You can't stop the virus from spreading from person to person!
Mark: Yes, you will have to follow all other RIVM-stipulated guidelines, such as keeping people at a distance of 1.5 meters. The air in the office building is full of various bacteria, viruses and fungi. Using our system, the air can be purified as before. In an ordinary conference room, there will be four lamps: two direct and two indirect. The direct one is opened at night and the other is opened during the day, the price is between 1500 and 1600 euros. What you avoid is the second wave of pollution inside the company, which is helpful if you resume work.
Reporter: You are actually specialized in LED lighting. Now that you don’t know the exact consequences, is it dangerous to enter the UV industry?
Mark: This view is partially correct. For us, this is a new attempt. Not everyone knows that this light has the effect of resisting the new coronavirus, but who knows what light can do, you know what you can do with light. We have been engaged in this industry for nearly 15 years. As you can see, there is a global demand for UVC lamps. In Japan and China, buses go through ultraviolet car washing even at night. We have also received the first order.
Reporter: It is very convenient to deal with the new coronary pneumonia crisis, isn't it?
Mark: This is not important. During this period, our concern is to increase the value of society, we don’t have to get rich from it, and of course we don’t need to ask for prizes. Of course, our company must continue to survive, and we have also been affected. However, we entered this field to add value.
How does ultraviolet light kill viruses?
We most often use ultraviolet rays at the cash register to check the authenticity of banknotes, but this light has more applications. The ultraviolet rays are invisible to the naked eye, and ultraviolet rays occur at different wavelengths.
Certain types of ultraviolet light, such as UV-C, can cause microbes in the air to die. UV-C does this by destroying the connection of molecules so that it can kill the virus.
The scientific community has different opinions on the effectiveness of ultraviolet rays to kill viruses, and a lot of research is being done.