Although U.S. President Donald Trump’s suggestion that inserting ultraviolet light into coronavirus patients was widely laughed off, Dimer UCV Innovations, a California company thinks it’s a perfect solution for decontaminating airplanes.
Dimer UCV Innovations had created a UV-C-emitting cleaning machine for the airline industry way back in 2014. Its only now with the coronavirus pandemic that demand for its product has really taken off.
“We didn’t want it to take a pandemic to create the demand in this industry. That’s the situation we’re in and we’re building our units as quickly as we can,” said Elliot Kreitenberg, president and co-founder of Dimer UCV Innovations.
Kreitenberg did not provide details on sales of the unit, but said use of the machine had been offered to the industry for free during the pandemic.
GermFalcon is a food cart sized robotic tool that is pushed down the aisle of the plane. Mechanical wings expand and emit UV-C light onto cabin surfaces.
A protective barrier shields the operator from the ultraviolet light.
According to Kreitenberg, the GermFalcon can clean a typical narrow body aircraft in three minutes.
According to experts, UV-C can damage the nucleic acids within an organism and prevent it from replicating. UV-C’s use as a disinfectant is fairly common in hospital and laboratories.
Among the three types of ultraviolet light – UV-A, UV-B and UV-C, the last is the most damaging. Around 95% of UV radiation from the sun comes in the form of UV-A.
While UV light is known to kill viruses in air-borne droplets, according to health professionals it has so far not been possible to introduced it into the human body to target cells infected with the Wuhan coronavirus.
Organizations including CHEO Research Institute in Canada have looked at using UV-C to disinfect personal protective equipment including N95 masks, but not surfaces.
According to University of California Santa Barbara, Seoul Semiconductor Co Ltd has been working on UV LEDs for the purpose of decontaminating surfaces.
That company reported “99.9% sterilization of coronavirus in 30 seconds.”