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Home Industry News Columbia University study hints at UV weapon against flu

Columbia University study hints at UV weapon against flu

12th February 2018

Researchers at Columbia University have found a way of using a form of ultraviolet (UV) light to kill flu bugs without harming human tissue; a discovery that may have widespread implications for public health in winter.

The Irving Medical Centre researchers found that dispensing continuous low doses of a spectrum of light called far-UV from overhead could eliminate the virus, which would be applicable in public spaces such as schools, offices, hospitals, GP surgeries and aircraft. 

According to the research, published in Scientific Reports, it has long been known that UV doses of between 200 and 400 nanometers can kill viruses by destroying the molecular bonds holding their DNA together. However, most kinds of UV radiation will also damage human tissue.

The new research, however, has shown that far-UV can kill flu without harming tissue. Research leader Dr David Brenner explained that it has a "very limited range" as it cannot penetrate skin or the tear layer in eyes. 

Widespread use of UV in this way could curb widespread flu outbreaks like that seen in the UK in recent months, helping relieve pressure on health services in winter. 

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Image: Newcastle University

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