Incredibly, in 2020, a 200-year-old technology is shining a brilliant light onto a whole new marketplace.
The disinfecting attributes of ultraviolet light has been known since 1801, though it wasn’t until nearly 100 years later that ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) became a standard method of sterilization. However, thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 ushered in a renewed interest in, and understanding of, the power of UV light disinfection as a solution for both surface and air disinfection. UVGI was really mostly known in very specific industries and applications, and the greater public, and most other enterprises and facilities were unfamiliar. Today, that’s all changed. Within the span of about 10 months, UV light became a proven and sought-after technology. This new level of attention has supercharged the UV light disinfection industry, with new products, refined technologies, new ideas and innovations, and a slew of new applications.
In 2021, we’re going to see all kinds of environments turning to UV light disinfection, and we’re going to see companies, hospitals, eldercare facilities, schools and universities, food production plants and more mandate their use.
In medicine, we are going to start seeing air and surface disinfection in every patient room, exam room, OR and waiting room. Innovative new products are being designed today to make this level of UV disinfection fast, easy to use, affordable and all with a trail of proven, reported results.
New Far UV-C light technology is being developed to allow for continual disinfection of spaces that can occur safely while occupants are in the room. This will allow for immediate disinfection of an OR, or emergency room area after the patient leaves, but while other staff turn over the space.
In the past 10 months, UV light technology has been liberated from the past, and the immense change and invention are already creating solutions never considered.
The Case for “Future Proofing”
The essential nature of SARS-CoV-2 as an ever-mutating pathogen is also giving rise to the notion that the world may not soon be rid of COVID-19 anytime soon. So, while 2020 was the time that UV light was used to help protect people from being infected, as the pathogen evolves, we must work to prevent whatever pathogens and mutations may come our way in the future. In that way, UV disinfecting light technology is an important step toward preventing, or “future proofing” hospitals, schools, buildings, manufacturing facilities and more for any microbial eventuality. The current vaccine is an important step in safeguarding the population but adding UV light disinfection will bring an extra layer of protection as new strains of the virus escape the efficacy of the current vaccine. Coronaviruses have been, and will be, with us forever, as well as influenza and many other HAI’s that have plagued hospitals in the past. The ability for health and medical environments to prepare for the future, invest in infrastructure, and meet the pathogenic challenges head on, will be what determines community safety and profitable operation in the future.
There are many more new ideas, products, applications and technological leaps predicted for UV light disinfection in the future. And for us all to safely move forward, the future starts now.