HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/SOUTHKOREA-REVENGESHOPPING
(Photo : REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji) People wearing masks to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) arrive at Gimpo international airport in Seoul, South Korea, May 1, 2020.

A Japanese company has created a robot that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to disinfect contaminated surfaces. The device has been shown to destroy the coronavirus in only two minutes, reports claim. 

HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/SOUTHKOREA-REVENGESHOPPING
(Photo : REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji)
People wearing masks to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) arrive at Gimpo international airport in Seoul, South Korea, May 1, 2020.

UV light robot can destroy the coronavirus in 2 minutes; Here's how it works 

Texas-based Xenex Disinfection Services recently announced the successful launch of its LightStrike robot. The robot, sold in Japan by medical equipment maker Terumo, emits light of wavelengths between 200 and 315 nanometers to decontaminate beds, doorknobs, and different surfaces.

Two or three five-minute rounds of ultraviolet radiation leave pathogens too damaged to function. The device has been tested to work against multidrug-resistant microorganisms and the Ebola virus, Xenex said.

The LightStrike robot was also proven to be 99.99% effective in eliminating the coronavirus from N95 masks. The machines have been brought in approximately 500 health care facilities worldwide.

Dr. Mark Stibich, Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of Xenex, told AFP that disinfecting public spaces is a significant priority to reduce transmitting the diseases. "Putting an effective infection prevention infrastructure in place now is essential," Stibich said.

Terumo was granted exclusive distribution rights in 2017 of the device. The devices, which cost around 15 million yen ($140,000), had been deployed in 11 facilities by the end of April. However, interest has been growing from hospitals in search of a way to avoiding spreadind the virus.

"Between March and April, we had inquiries from more than 100 medical institutions," a Terumo representative told Nikkei.

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COVID-19 UV light treatment is being studied

Researchers had already been studying ultraviolet light treatment, USA Today reported. UV light, according to researchers, could be a life-saving weapon against the spread of viruses.

UV light has long been used as a disinfectant in wastewater treatment, health facility rooms, and different settings. It also has a few scientific treatment applications, such as the use of fluorescent lamps to administer managed doses of UV light to pores and skin lymphoma patients.

UV light works as a disinfectant because it prevents cells from reproducing. No microorganisms have shown immunity to UV at certain levels, International Ultraviolet Association told USA Today.

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However, medical experts have been brief to caution against the usage of disinfectant injections or UV light as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

Among the experts were from corporations made up of device vendors, scientists, engineers and clinical professionals who deal with ultraviolet light.

"We would like to inform the public that there are no protocols to advise or permit the safe use of UV light directly on the human body at the wavelengths and exposures proven to efficiently kill viruses such as SARS-CoV-2," a joint news release from the groups said.

Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, said in a video posted on April 24 in that UV radiation is risky and has to be taken seriously.

According to Lichtenfeld, there is no evidence whatsoever that ultraviolet radiation has any impact in any way on preventing or treating COVID-19. "And we have to understand that we rely on evidence -- there is no evidence," he added.

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