Certain type and dosage of ultraviolet light can and has been used for a long time to kill microbes. So can it be used to eliminate the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19?
Scientists have zeroed down upon the dosage and other controlled conditions that can be used to kill the novel coronavirus. So the answer is yes. But obtaining such levels of controlled environment is not possible in home conditions or from the UV lamps available at homes.
Firstly, there are three types of UV light - UV A, UV B and UV C. The divisions are made on the basis of wavelength and it is only the UVA that reaches the Earth as the ozone layer consumes the other types. Experts have found UV C, which has the shortest wavelength and the highest energy, to successfully work as a disinfectant.
According to a report by Live Science, UV C at a specific wavelength of 254 nanometers has been previously found to kill H1N1 influenza and other coronavirus like the severe acute respiratory virus (SARS-CoV) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). Now a study claiming that UVC 254 can eliminate SARS-CoV-2 as well is awaiting peer review to be published.
The study is available in its pre-print version currently at Medrxiv.org and has been led by scientists of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
The report added that UVC 254 was successful because long enough exposure to this wavelength causes lesions in the DNA and RNA, so that they can no longer replicate.