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article imageOp-Ed: UVC irradiation can do a lot more than kill viruses

By Paul Wallis     May 9, 2020 in World
New York - New findings show that UVC, a higher, safe frequency of UV light, can kill viruses. The UV light destroys the virus, scrambling its DNA and making it dysfunctional. It could also be a major public health benefit.
The UVC research has been quite irrefutable. UV is used to irradiate food, surgical equipment, etc., but UVA and UVB aren’t safe for general irradiation. UVC can be used anywhere.
A major deal
The story here isn’t just about COVID-19. The world is literally full of dangerous, potentially contagious pathogens. Public health levels are abysmal, and these pathogens can make it a lot worse. Tuberculosis in its contagious form is extremely dangerous and can spread rapidly in a community, for example. Influenza affects a sizeable chunk of the workforce every year over the flu season.
So- Add UVC irradiation to the areas where people work, anywhere human-to-human transmission is an obvious risk, and you can do something about these serious health threats. Contagious diseases are expensive for everyone. They consume health resources, and as we are all too well aware, can shut down nations, too.
There’s another problem here, and it’s no joke. Many viruses are accused of setting people up for serious medical conditions like multiple sclerosis, etc. These theories are yet to be properly proven to everyone’s satisfaction, but any risk for causing major conditions is no minor threat. Destroy the viruses and you could well be destroying these risks.
If the COVID-19 virus has done anything at all useful, it has proven how woefully unprepared so many nations were for it. Slow responses allow any plague to spread much faster. Incomprehension of transmission issues doesn’t help, either. This was a learning experience, if a particularly brutal one, so we need to get every scrap of use out of it we can.
The antiquated virtually illiterate government responses in the United States, United Kingdom and elsewhere are symptoms of a far greater risk. COVID-19 wasn’t the massive killer pandemic predicted for so many years. It was, however, a good threat assessment exercise.
With such a huge human population living in cities, a more virulent pandemic could literally trash humanity in a week or so. Contagious diseases will continue to be serious risks to public health unless proper management is already in place from day one to deal with future outbreaks. Effective, simple area-denial weapons are required to manage a major pandemic. Irradiation could well be the magic bullet.
A retrospective case study
COVID-19 is an odd virus, but it’s also a good benchmark:
The original strain of the virus was downright weird. Some people got a severe case, others got almost nothing. The virus obviously wasn’t fully developed. People had symptoms or no symptoms. A lot of people simply didn’t get it at all.
Just so you know - This is one of the proofs that COVID-19 could never have been a bioweapon. Weaponized pathogens are comparatively “dumb”. They don't have yes/no infection options. They just kill people, very efficiently, in gigantic numbers. COVID-19 was a “vague” virus with multiple behaviours, which gave it so many options open for mutation, making it far more adaptable.
Things changed, fast. A mutant strain appeared in Europe pretty quickly after the Chinese pandemic. This is the viral strain that’s been hitting New York so hard. This strain is far more contagious. (Opinions differ quite a lot about this. The death toll, however, seems particularly nasty in these regions.)
This strain spread because there was nothing to physically stop it. Lockdown works by reducing the risk of exposure, but doesn’t actually eradicate the disease. Vaccines prevent infection, but of course, there wasn’t one. To actually physically remove the virus from the environment, rain does more than just about anything else, flushing the viral particles out of the human-inhabited zones.
The theory of irradiation as an all-round defence
Safe, effective irradiation could definitely have made a serious dent in the initial spread of the virus. This was the onslaught that generated the big numbers of subsequent cases. (Perhaps not halted it entirely, but definitely reduce numbers drastically.)
Irradiation in high-risk areas could also have done a lot of good. Hospitals, nursing homes, aged care, all could have benefited from basic irradiation at any relevant entry point, during care, etc.
Epidemiology is above all a numbers game. The lower the pathogen count, the better. A simple, efficient fix to eradicate a lethal problem is the move you need. Irradiation can do that, and do it well.
There are quite a few positives here:
• Irradiation is accepted, known, technology. No mysteries involved.
• Irradiation is unintrusive, no risk to anyone, and easy to maintain continuously.
• Irradiation equipment doesn’t require special manufacturing, just the right frequency of UV light.
• You can even use irradiation as décor. What you can see of it looks good. You can turn it into a nice feature in the workplace which just happens to massacre lots of nasty pathogens.
• Irradiation can destroy the other nasty pathogens in human environments as well. That’s a huge plus for the world’s herniated health systems. Irradiation may well improve general health, simply by shutting down sources of infection in high-risk areas.
A note of caution
UVC irradiation is obviously a good general health measure. That said, pathogens are tricky. They’re serial survivors, and there are many other ways to transmit diseases. There’s no reason to believe that they won’t find ways to infect people using other means. Install the UVC irradiation ASAP, sure. Just keep an eye out for other methods of transmission. It’s a bit too hard to believe that the world’s most communicable diseases would give up the ghost quickly or easily.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about UVC irradiation, pandemic UVC irradiation, UVC irradiation as a public health asset, viral pathology, virsues and multiple sclerosis
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