Germicidal Ultraviolet Light Can Kill Airborne Viruses Indoors Before They Infect, Public Health Researchers Say

June 30, 2022

Building owners and facility managers can make indoor environments safer by disinfecting indoor air, according to a new Op/Ed article in The New York Times by airborne infectious disease experts Donald Milton, a University of Maryland professor of environmental health, Edward Nardell of Harvard University and David Michaels of George Washington University.

One of the best technologies to do so — germicidal ultraviolet light — has been studied for decades and can now be used safely.

GUV can easily and silently kill half of the germs floating in indoor air every two minutes or less. It was developed and tested beginning in the 1930s using some of the same technology in fluorescent light fixtures. It is still commonly used in TB wards, as well as some major hospital systems and homeless shelters.

The initial costs for equipment and installation of a highly effective GUV system can often be lower than upgrading or replacing ventilation systems. GUV also disinfects the air faster and with far less electricity than ventilation and filtration, which means it’s a climate-friendly solution for high-risk environments.