The COVID-19 Crisis
Most efforts to come out of the COVID-19 crisis are related to vaccine or easing the symptoms. While these directions are actively pursued, many businesses are going down.
However, there is an alternative that can rid the world of the virus, perhaps faster and more effectively. The alternative is far-UVC radiation, which can inactivate the virus without harming humans.
An Aviation Scenario
Aviation is a typical industry at a standstill.
Let us consider a scenario: a passenger takes a taxi, gets off at the airport, walks inside, sits in the aircraft and repeats the sequence in reverse at the other end. If the space inside the taxi, airport and aircraft are irradiated with far-UVC, there will be no virus floating about to infect the passenger. Thus it is a simple matter to ensure virus-free spaces from start to finish. Unless an individual is too close to another, there can be no direct infection transfer between them either.
This scenario shows how the aviation industry may be rendered infection-free.
International travel is not the only situation where people are concerned about potential infection. Schools, offices, shops, hotels, restaurants and so forth are all pretty much similar scenarios, hence similar solutions apply. Even without any other measures, this will achieve a transmission rate close to zero. It is then a small matter to treat any existing infections through medical means.
Two gadgets can add to the effectiveness of this process.
Noting that far-UVC needs line of sight to inactivate the virus, the hidden undersides of furniture need special attention. Since a virus is not a living entity, it is not capable of locomotion and breeding. Therefore, disinfecting the hidden surfaces may not be essential. However, a machine similar to the robotic vacuum cleaner equipped with far-UVC bulbs would be useful.
The second gadget would look like the personal cooler that is worn around the neck but with low power bulbs in place of the fans at the ends, This would be more effective than face masks and shields.
Is It Possible?
So what is the problem? Why can’t we buy a few far-UVC bulbs and install them at strategic points in the house? Why can’t the airlines install them in the flights, airport authorities in airports and taxi drivers in their taxis?
The technology of far-UVC bulbs is not new, nor is it held under trade secrets. The basic patents are in the public domain. Until recently, only compact fluorescent lamps could produce far-UVC. Currently, only a few companies are manufacturing them. The production is low and the price is high, upwards of $2000 per lamp.
Recently, solid-state devices to emit far-UVC light have been developed, potentially costing around $200.
Two points are in favour of far-UVC. Worldwide, there are a lot more companies capable of manufacturing lamps than vaccines and other medicines. Far-UVC can inactivate other viruses as well, so no need for flu vaccine either!