UV is a form of electromagnetic energy with a wavelength from 10 nm to 400 nm that can be naturally occurring in sunlight or engineered in fixtures. For germicidal applications, it’s important to understand that the wavelengths of UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C light actually modify the genetic material of micro organisms that threaten human health. The electromagnetic energy destroys the ability of microorganisms to reproduce and causes photo-chemical reactions in nucleic acids. The UV energy also causes the inactivation of microbes by planting dimers in RNA and DNA causing mutations, cell death or failure to reproduce.
It’s interesting that the basic understanding behind the technology has been around for a while, first catalyzed by Downes and Blunt 140 years ago, proving the antibacterial effects of sunlight. So why wasn’t it adopted in a more widespread way earlier? For a long time it was understood that antibiotics were more effective. And yet, over 2 million people every year in the US are infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. More recently, infection preventionists are returning to UV as we have come to understand the ability of microorganisms to build resistance, whereas, there have been no reports of microbes demonstrating an ability to build an immunity to light-based methods.
In 2000, the Army recommended Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) for the isolation of disease and just three years later, the CDC endorsed the use of UVGI in hospitals and FEMA approved the use of bio-defense systems based on UVGI for buildings. Since then, UV disinfection products, like Puro’s products have been gaining traction, as the smartest, fastest, most effective way to disinfect a room.
To learn more, check out a white page created by our technology partner, Violet Defense: