Microbial Warfare - Winning with UV-C Light

The setting in most hospitals or healthcare environments requires strict infection control to reduce the risk of transmitting microbes from person to person. There are various disinfection processes, but most are ineffective or inefficient in destroying multiple pathogens. However, UV-C light radiation has been shown to possess potent germicidal capacities against a broad spectrum of microbes, including their spores.

This article discusses UV-C light antimicrobial properties, case studies of its use in disinfection, and its role in preventing disease outbreaks.

Microbial Warfare - Winning with UV-C Light

Understanding UV-C Light Mechanism

UV-C light kills disease-causing microbes using electromagnetic radiation at specific wavelengths. The wavelength of UV-C light varies but typically ranges between 200-280nm. At this wavelength, UV-C light possesses germicidal effects by destroying the nucleic acids and DNA of pathogens exposed to it. 

By eliminating the DNA of microbes, UV-C light inhibits cell division and prevents the multiplication and spread of pathogens in high-risk environments. UV-C light can disrupt the protein molecules in the walls of microbes like viruses. The destruction of the microbial walls weakens the pathogen and makes it easy to eliminate from surfaces and medical devices.

UV-c light has the potential to eliminate various types of microbes, such as: 

  • Bacteria: E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, etc.
  • Viruses: Influenza, SARS-CoV-2, etc.
  • Fungi: Candida, Aspergillus, etc.
  • Protozoa: Giardia, Cryptosporidium

Therefore, UV-C light will be most valuable for disinfecting high-risk areas in the hospital and preventing the spread of disease-causing pathogens among healthcare workers and patients.

Case studies of successful UV-C light implementation in destroying microorganisms. 

Generally, UV-C light disinfection is safe for humans and most materials, making it suitable for most healthcare settings.

Different healthcare organizations, such as medical centers, scientific laboratories, and universities, have successfully used UV-C light to disinfect and control the spread of disease-causing pathogens.

Spaarne Gasthuis

Scientists at Spaarne Gasthuis, a medical center in the Netherlands, compared the efficacy of UV-C disinfection with standard washer-disinfectors. The scientists concluded that UV-C light disinfection met the reduction requirements for various drug-resistant bacteria strains. Also, compared to the standard washer disinfectant, UV-C light disinfection revealed a significant improvement in the disinfection process.

Marburg University

Researchers at Marburg University used UV-C light radiation to disinfect a series of rigid and flexible endoscopes. After the disinfection process, the researchers found that UV-C radiation achieved a marked reduction in decontaminating the endoscopes. In addition, the UV-C disinfection was more efficient than other methods.

Elisabeth-Tweesteden Hospital

The ENT outpatient clinic in Elisabeth-Tweesteden Hospital (ETZ) located in Tilburg commenced the use of UV-C light disinfection to their flexible channel-less ENT scopes in the department.

In a chat with UV Smart, a representative from the clinic reported that UV-C light disinfected a large number of ENT endoscopes effectively within 60 seconds, and it was more economical than the previous disinfection method.

These case studies reveal that the use of UV-C light radiation to eliminate microbes from surfaces and medical instruments can protect individuals at population levels.

The role of UV-C light in preventing outbreaks and public health protection

The environment in most hospitals or medical centers typically contains drug-resistant organisms that cause hospital-acquired infection-this is an infection that occurs within the first 48 hours or 30 days of receiving care in a healthcare facility. Hospital-acquired infection accounts for some of the preventable deaths in the US and most countries.

The Center for Disease Control states that approximately 1.7 million hospitalized patients annually have hospital-acquired infections, and 98,000 patients (1 in 17) die from these infections.

This figure indicates the need for strict infection control in the hospital to protect the health of the public.

UV-C light has a broad spectrum of activity against various pathogens, making it suitable for preventing the transmission of infection-causing microbes in at-risk healthcare settings. Therefore, healthcare workers, especially surgeons, physicians, and infection control experts, will benefit from incorporating UV-C light radiation for disinfecting the following:

  • high risk areas such as operating rooms
  • Medical instruments or devices
  • Contaminated surfaces

By killing pathogens and limiting the spread of diseases, UV-C light plays a critical role in preventing disease outbreaks, saving lives, and reducing morbidity at population levels.

Final thoughts

UV-C light has a wide spectrum of antimicrobial activity against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. These features make it an excellent choice for disinfecting contaminated surfaces and medical devices in the hospital.

Several medical centers and laboratories have tested UV-C light for disinfection and found it to be effective and efficient in eliminating pathogens.

Healthcare professionals and infection control experts can explore the power of UV-C light disinfection to control and reduce the spread of disease causing organisms in the hospital. 

Nicolas Cediey
Digital Marketer