From “Could a New Ultraviolet Technology Fight the Spread of Coronavirus?” by Carla Cantor (April 21, 2020) Columbia News:
Scientists have known for decades that germicidal UV light (wavelength around 254 nm) has the capacity to kill viruses and bacteria. Hospitals and laboratories often use germicidal UV light to sterilize unoccupied rooms, as well as other equipment. But conventional germicidal UV light cannot be used in the presence of people as it can causes health problems to the skin and eyes.
In contrast, far-UVC light, which has a very short wavelength (in the range from about 205 to 230 nm), cannot reach or damage living human cells. But these wavelengths can still penetrate and kill very small viruses and bacteria floating in the air or on surfaces.
Far-UVC lamps are now in production by several companies, although ramping up to large-scale production, as well as approval by the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency, will take several months. At between $500 and $1000 per lamp, the lamps are relatively inexpensive, and once they are mass produced the prices would likely fall, [Columbia researcher David] Brenner said.
YouTube removed a video Friday touting an ultraviolet-based medical platform as a possible treatment for COVID-19 coronavirus. The video in question was posted by Aytu BioScience, a publicly-traded special pharmaceutical company focused on “commercializing novel products,” after the White House said there was evidence humidity and ultra-violet light could greatly affect the virus. It promoted a product called Healight, developed by Californian Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and exclusively licensed to Aytu BioScience, as per a press release published April 20.
The Google subsidiary took down the clip for “violating community guidelines” after being flagged by a New York Times reporter. Previously, YouTube said it was going to take down coronavirus content that did not follow the World Health Organization’s guidelines on COVID-19.
The basic idea by Californian Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is to put a UV light that can kill viruses but no harm human tissue within the lungs. From their press release:
Led by Mark Pimentel, MD, the research team of the Medically Associated Science and Technology (MAST) Program at Cedars-Sinai has been developing the patent-pending Healight platform since 2016 and has produced a growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating pre-clinical safety and effectiveness of the technology as an antiviral and antibacterial treatment. The Healight technology employs proprietary methods of administering intermittent ultraviolet (UV) A light via a novel endotracheal medical device. Pre-clinical findings indicate the technology’s significant impact on eradicating a wide range of viruses and bacteria, inclusive of coronavirus. The data have been the basis of discussions with the FDA for a near-term path to enable human use for the potential treatment of coronavirus in intubated patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). Beyond the initial pursuit of a coronavirus ICU indication, additional data suggest broader clinical applications for the technology across a range of viral and bacterial pathogens. This includes bacteria implicated in ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP).
“Our team has shown that administering a specific spectrum of UV-A light can eradicate viruses in infected human cells (including coronavirus) and bacteria in the area while preserving healthy cells,” stated Dr. Pimentel of Cedars-Sinai. Ali Rezaie, MD, one of the inventors of this technology states, “Our lab at Cedars-Sinai has extensively studied the effects of this unique technology on bacteria and viruses. Based on our findings we believe this therapeutic approach has the potential to significantly impact the high morbidity and mortality of coronavirus-infected patients and patients infected with other respiratory pathogens. We are looking forward to partnering with Aytu BioScience to move this technology forward for the benefit of patients all over the world.”