CIE Position Statement on the Use of UV Radiation to Manage the Risk of COVID-19 Transmission

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has accelerated the search for environmental controls to contain or mitigate the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) responsible for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 is usually transmitted from person to person by contact with large respiratory droplets, either directly or by touching virus-contaminated surfaces (also denoted as fomites) and subsequently touching the eyes, nose or mouth. Importantly, there is growing evidence of virus transmission via the airborne route as the large respiratory droplets dry out and form droplet nuclei which can remain airborne for several hours. Depending on the nature of the surface and environmental factors, fomites can remain infectious for several days (van Doremalen, 2020). The use of germicidal UV radiation (GUV) is an important environmental intervention which can reduce both contact spread and airborne transmission of infectious agents (like bacteria and viruses). GUV within the UV-C range (200 nm–280 nm), primarily 254 nm, has been used successfully and safely for over 70 years. However, GUV must be knowledgably applied with appropriate attention to dose and safety. Inappropriate GUV application can present human health and safety issues and produce insufficient deactivation of infectious agents. Application in the home is not advisable and GUV should never be used to disinfect the skin, except when clinically justified.
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