Is there good evidence that germicidal UV (GUV) could be beneficial for decontamination of infectious aerosols in occupied environments?
REMARK: This Q&A was part of the AIVC special COVID-19 newsletter published in July 2021. To subscribe to the newsletter please click here.
Yes, Germicidal Ultraviolet (GUV*) irradiation is an established technology that has been use in many years to disinfect air, water, and surfaces. Air disinfection is carried out via several methods, for instance irradiating the upper-room air. There is good evidence that upper-room GUV irradiation can lower the concentration of airborne organisms in the lower part of the room and thereby controlling the spread of airborne infection among occupants. GUV poses a health hazard to the eyes and skin if the lamps are improperly used or installed. Therefore, to be safe and effective this technology requires design and installation from a suitable professional.
*Germicidal Ultraviolet (GUV) irradiation, also known as Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) uses ultraviolet light in the UV-C wavelength range (200 nm to 280 nm) to inactivate microorganisms. Most systems use low-pressure mercury lamps that produce a peak emission of approximately 254 nm (see also FAQ 'Can portable air cleaners prevent the spread of COVID-19 indoors?').
Alireza Afshari, Aalborg University