UV Inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 across the UVC Spectrum: KrCl* Excimer, Mercury-Vapor, and Light-Emitting-Diode (LED) Sources

Ben Ma, Patricia M. Gundy, Charles P. Gerba, Mark D. Sobsey, Karl G. Linden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Effective disinfection technology to combat severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can help reduce viral transmission during the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic and in the future. UV devices emitting UVC irradiation (200 to 280 nm) have proven to be effective for virus disinfection, but limited information is available for SARS-CoV-2 due to the safety requirements of testing, which is limited to biosafety level 3 (BSL3) laboratories. In this study, inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 in thin-film buffered aqueous solution (pH 7.4) was determined across UVC irradiation wavelengths of 222 to 282 nm from krypton chloride (KrCl*) excimers, a low-pressure mercury-vapor lamp, and two UVC light-emitting diodes. Our results show that all tested UVC devices can effectively inactivate SARS-CoV-2, among which the KrCl* excimer had the best disinfection performance (i.e., highest inactivation rate). The inactivation rate constants of SARS-CoV-2 across wavelengths are similar to those for murine hepatitis virus (MHV) from our previous investigation, suggesting that MHV can serve as a reliable surrogate of SARS-CoV-2 with a lower BSL requirement (BSL2) during UV disinfection tests. This study provides fundamental information on UVC's action on SARS-CoV-2 and guidance for achieving reliable disinfection performance with UVC devices. IMPORTANCE UV light is an effective tool to help stem the spread of respiratory viruses and protect public health in commercial, public, transportation, and health care settings. For effective use of UV, there is a need to determine the efficiency of different UV wavelengths in killing pathogens, specifically SARS-CoV-2, to support efforts to control the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic and future coronavirus-caused respiratory virus pandemics. We found that SARS-CoV-2 can be inactivated effectively using a broad range of UVC wavelengths, and 222 nm provided the best disinfection performance. Interestingly, 222-nm irradiation has been found to be safe for human exposure up to thresholds that are beyond those effective for inactivating viruses. Therefore, applying UV light from KrCl* excimers in public spaces can effectively help reduce viral aerosol or surface-based transmissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e0153221
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Volume87
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 28 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • bacteriophage Phi6
  • COVID-19
  • far UVC
  • human coronavirus 229E
  • MHV
  • murine hepatitis virus
  • surrogate
  • UV disinfection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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