Evaluating far-UVC spectrum light to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus

Patrice Manzzoni

Director of Exploration and Mining Projects

The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it various challenges to humankind and drove the need for technologies that allow everyone to safely resume their activities; these include effective alternatives for decontaminating surfaces and objects. Using ultraviolet (UV) radiation to inactivate viruses is a well-established technique, but traditional germicidal lamps are dangerous. A window of far-UVC wavelengths has demonstrated significant antiviral and antimicrobial effects without such health risks and is being evaluated for use in disinfecting equipment. In order to make this technology more available, in 2020 the CNPEM signed a collaboration agreement with Vale and the Value Technological Institute (ITV) and funding from EMBRAPII to investigate the use of far-UVC radiation to inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The research found that this spectrum effectively inactivates the virus without causing potentially mutagenic injuries, but the efficacy of this method also depends on the liquid medium in which the virus is found. According to Patrice Manzzoni, Vale’s Director of Exploration and Mineral Projects, the partnership between the three institutions “is intended to advance scientific and technical development, creating high-level knowledge for the society and helping to face a globe-spanning problem resulting from the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.” Patrice also mentioned the positive experience Vale and the ITV had interacting with the CNPEM to address this challenge.