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Post at: Aug 19 2021

UV-C Technology for COVID-19

Recent Context

  • On July 13, 2021 the Union Minister of State for Science and Technology has said that a UV-C disinfection technology meant for mitigation of airborne transmission of SARS-COV-2 will be installed in the parliament.
  • The technology has been developed by the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (SIO) under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), affiliated to the Union Ministry of Science and Technology.

What is UV?

  • Ultraviolet (UV) is a type of radiation naturally emitted by the Sun.
  • It covers the wavelength range of 100-400 nm.
  • The human visible light range is from 380-700 nm.

Type of UV – There are three types of UV radiation which are classified according to their wavelength.

  • UV-A (315-400 nm) – It has the longest wavelength that accounts for approximately 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.
  • It can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and is responsible for the immediate tanning effect.
  • It also contributes to skin ageing and wrinkling.
  • UV-B (288-315 nm) – It has a medium-wavelength.
  • It is very biologically active but cannot penetrate beyond the superficial skin layer.
  • It is responsible for delayed tanning and burning.
  • It enhances skin ageing and significantly promote the development of skin cancer.
  • UV-C (100-280 nm) - It has short wavelength.
  • It is the most damaging type of UV radiation.
  • However, it is completely filtered by the atmosphere and does not reach the Earth’s surface.
  • But UV-C radiation from man-made sources has been known to cause skin burns and eye injuries.
  • UV-A and UV-B rays from the sun are transmitted through our atmosphere and all UV-C is filtered by the ozone layer.

Features of the CSIR Developed UV-C Systems

Can UV-C Kill Corona virus?

  • UV-C radiation (wavelength around 254 nm) has been used for decades to disinfect the air in hospitals, laboratories, and also in water treatment.
  • A paper published in June 2020 in Scientific Report noted that UV-C radiation can destroy the outer protein coating of the SARS-Coronavirus.
  • The report showed that 222 nm, known as ‘far – UVC light’ efficiently kills airborne human coronavirus- alpha HCoV-229 E and beta HCoV – 0C43.
  • This is different from SAS – CoV2 virus.
  • An in-vitro experiment conducted by Hiroshima University researcher showed that 99.7% of SARS-2 CoV2 viral culture was killed when exposed to 222 nm UV-C irradiation at 0.1 mW/CM2 for 30 seconds.
  • Is it safe for Humans?
  • Researcher from the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, who developed a portable disinfectant device that used UV-C radiation (222-254 nm), noted that the device was specifically developed to disinfect non-living things.
  • UV-C radiation used in this device could be harmful to the skin and eyes of the living beings.


  • Central Scientific Instruments Organization (CSIO) is a constituent unit of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (SCIR).
  • It is a premier national laboratory dedicated to research, design and development of scientific and industrial instruments.
  • It is a multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional apex industrial research & development organization in the country to stimulate growth of instrument industry in India covering wide range and application.

@  Yogesh Pratap Singh

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