Ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection was discovered in 1801 and UV germicidal irradiation was used for disinfection in 1910. While these disinfection methods have been used for centuries, the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a broader interest in eliminating pathogens of all kinds among all types of businesses. As a result, many organizations have created new or improved mandates to eliminate pathogens from their offices, hospitals, hotels, schools, and other spaces where people interact.
One of the best ways to remove germs from these places is using UV-C disinfection robots. This method is not only practical but also cost-effective for continuous disinfection of almost any space. This article discusses UV-C disinfection in greater detail to help you determine your ideal disinfection protocol and supplement your current cleaning routine with ultraviolet irradiation. Read on for more information about the effectiveness of this innovative method that’s redefining the landscape of disinfection.
What is UV Disinfection?
UV disinfection is a method of killing germs that utilizes UV light-emitting devices. The devices release UV light, electromagnetic radiation that sits between visible light and X-rays depending on the wavelength. With a wavelength ranging between 10nm and 400nm, UV light exists in three types: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. Of these, UV-A has the longest wavelength, UV-B the next shortest wavelength, and UV-C the shortest wavelength. UV-C wavelengths have the most energy and are the most effective among the three for disinfection.
How Does UV-C Disinfection Work?
UV light disinfection works by using a device that can either be handheld, mobile, or standalone. The UV-C disinfection device emits UV-C light, which targets the microorganisms, destroying their DNA. That’s because, when exposed to electromagnetic radiation within a particular wavelength, the genetic material of the microorganisms is modified. This limits the ability of the microorganisms to reproduce, preventing their spread on surfaces within a space.
A UV-C disinfection device targets DNA to cause thymine or cytosine dimer formation. It also goes after RNA to trigger uracil dimer formation. Thymine, cytosine, and uracil inactivate the microbes, causing mutation, failure to reproduce, and eventual death. A study funded by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that UV-C disinfection devices can enhance hospital disinfection by effectively eradicating pathogens under experimental conditions.
According to recent research, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) is highly susceptible to irradiation with ultraviolet light. High viral loads of 5 * 106 TCID50/ml SARS-CoV-2 can be inactivated in 9 minutes by UVC irradiation proving that UV-C irradiation represents a suitable disinfection method for SARS-CoV-2.
How Effective is UV-C Disinfection?
Because viruses contain RNA or DNA and are thus susceptible to irradiation, UV disinfection has been proven effective against a broad spectrum of microorganisms. Spores are susceptible to UV and bacteria and fungi, which both contain DNA, are similarly vulnerable to UV light.
With the longstanding use of UV for disinfection, there is a plethora of information regarding dosages necessary to inactivate different microorganisms.
The UV dose required for inactivation is the product of UV intensity [I] (expressed as energy per unit surface area) and exposure time [T]. Therefore: DOSE = I x T
This dose is commonly expressed as millijoule per square centimeter (mJ/cm2).
The reduction of micro-organisms is classified using a logarithmic scale. A single log reduction is a 90% reduction of organisms. A Log2 reduction is a 99% reduction of organisms, followed by a Log3 reduction (99.9%), etc. For example, independent testing shows that OhmniClean™ 254nm UV-C solution rapidly eliminates pathogens with an efficacy of 99.999%.
It’s interesting to note that the degree of inactivation by ultraviolet radiation follows the Inverse Square Rule which holds that a surface that is 2x as far from the light source requires 4x the exposure to have the same effect. A surface 3x farther away requires 9X exposure.
Benefits of UV-C Disinfection
UV-C disinfection is very effective in killing all types of bacteria and other pathogens. In recent days, researchers have proposed it as being effective in disinfecting surfaces that COVID-19 might contaminate. Compared to chemical or physical disinfection, UV-C disinfection has the following benefits:
Highly Effective: The major benefit of UV-C disinfection is that it is more effective than other germ removal methods. That’s because it targets and kills all bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other pathogens. The shorter wavelength in UV-C light targets germs in their DNA or RNA, deactivating them so that they can no longer replicate and spread throughout your home.
Easy to Use: UV-C disinfection systems are generally easy to set up and can either be placed at or autonomously position themself at the proper exposure distance. They will destroy all microbes as they shine the light on the targeted surface, leaving it disinfected.
Non-Toxic: With UV-C disinfection, you can avoid detergents, disinfectants, and other chemicals used in physical disinfection. While harmful to humans, the light is eco-friendly and won’t harm the environment after finishing its work. You can use it safely in a hospital, clinic, office, restaurant, or hotel without worrying about the contamination of food preparation surfaces.
Prevents Drug Resistance: Unlike chemicals, which cause resistance in microbia, UV-C light does not trigger any form of antimicrobial resistance. Therefore, disinfection via a UV-C disinfection robot is likely to solve the problem that makes it hard to disinfect your surfaces. Bacteria cannot build immunity to UV-C rays, making it easier for you to sterilize your environment.
Cost-Effective: If you plan to use UV-C disinfection, the only thing you need to buy is a device that emits light with a short wavelength. If you choose to purchase a UV-C disinfection robot, you will forego high labor rates and exorbitant prices to acquire chemicals. A manual disinfection solution, for example, can cost $250,000 for labor over 5 years.
Mobile or Static Solutions: Currently, there are stationary as well as mobile UV-C disinfection systems available in the market. In some places, such as guest rooms, you can install permanent devices to use whenever there is a need. However, newer options include autonomous robots which can get closer to surfaces for maximum exposure in the shortest amount of time. It’s possible for a mobile robot to automatically position itself for the best UV light coverage, eliminating shadows cast by static UV units.
About OhmniClean UV-C Disinfection Robot
The OhmniClean™ Disinfection Robot uses UV-C light to give your clinic, office, hotel or workplace a more thorough cleaning. It makes sure that your spaces are completely pathogen-free, finishing the work 80% faster than physical and chemical cleaning.
It is easy to use and faster than other types of UV-C disinfection solutions. The device is safe, using motion sensors, a unique safety system and remote switches to keep you out of harm while it is disinfecting your environment. Other key features include:
Highly-effective Autonomous Disinfection: As OhmniClean drives autonomously through a space, its UV-C lamps can get closer to surfaces than static devices, delivering a greater dose of UV-C exposure. As the robot passes a single point, it can deliver enough light for a sufficient log reduction.
OhmniClean delivers 1.3mW/cm2 at 1m away, Log3 reduction of SARS-CoV-2 is 3.7mJ/cm2, the robot moves at 0.1m/s in motion, i.e. only 3 seconds are needed for a Log3 reduction of SARS-CoV-2. This method also eliminates any problems introduced by object shadowing.
Easy Set-Up and Use: Very little training is needed. OhmniClean can be set up and operated by unskilled labor, saving on labor costs. The typical turnaround for each room is less than 10 minutes. Mapping the areas to be cleaned can also be done quickly and easily, making OhmniClean ideal for cleaning areas where room configuration changes on a regular basis.
Minimal Turn-around Time + Continuous Operation: OhmniClean can disinfect a 3,000 sq. ft. room in under 15 minutes. Plus, it can be run nearly non-stop with 100% utilization. As designed, OhmniClean’s power station is swappable to allow for consistent cleaning, reducing the need for multiple machines. The result is that more areas can be cleaned in one shift. Moreover, extra power stations are readily available and are far less expensive than the cost of additional UV-C machines.
Swappable Modules: Unique to OhmniClean are swappable modules that allow for fast and easy maintenance with stock replaceable parts. The modules also allow for fast and easy transportation, they reduce maintenance cost, and minimize downtime. For example, if the UV reflector of the robot needs to be replaced, it can be detached from the base of the robot. The same is true of the power stations.
Compact and Easy to Maneuver: At 59 pounds, OhmniClean is extremely lightweight compared to other units. Its low weight reduces the risk of user injury, especially when it’s being fully utilized by maneuvering or transporting the machine from one facility to another. With a footprint of 14” W x 18” L, OhmniClean can disinfect even the smallest of spaces or spaces with limited maneuverability.
In-Depth Reporting and Results Auditing: With OhmniClean, you can easily identify which areas were cleaned and the level of cleanliness by monitoring and reviewing reports. These reports can be automatically provided to stakeholders, such as operators, customers, and/or regulators and provides added assurance that manual systems cannot provide.
UV-C disinfection is one of the most effective ways to kill germs at home or your business premises. Whether you operate a hotel, restaurant, or hospital, UV-C rays can kill all bacteria, leaving you with adequately sterilized surfaces. Unlike physical or chemical disinfection, which could leave behind pathogens on surfaces, UV-C disinfection, when properly deployed, carries a much higher efficacy. It is easy to use and doesn’t develop resistant traits, as with chemical disinfection. Finally, UV-C disinfection is cost-effective and trouble-free.