UV rays for sterilisation – The Hindu BusinessLine

Disinfect’ has become the buzzword ever since the Covid-19 pandemic took over our lives over a year ago. From hospitals to hotels, airports, inside aircraft, supermarkets, our homes and every conceivable public space, the effort has been to make these virus-free.

But how do we sanitise large spaces and equipment as well as the day-to-day essentials that come into our homes or hospitals? Dr Kumaresh Krishnamoorthy, a Bengaluru-based innovator, has come up with a range of products that uses ultraviolet (UV) rays for sterilisation. Tested at National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited labs, the products are already in use in hospitals in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Delhi, Goa, and overseas in Dubai and Qatar.

What is the science behind this way of disinfecting? Ultraviolet C (UVC) light damages the RNA/DNA of microorganisms, including SARS-CoV-2, rendering them non-infectious. By using ultraviolet germicidal irradiation for air disinfection through a bot (minus human intervention), together with a Wi-Fi interface to activate, collate data and ensure results, a crucial need thrown up by the pandemic could be answered.

Krishnamoorthy’s start-up, AUM Medtech, has developed 21 UVCGI bots to suit every budget and need — including aircraft sterilisation. Even the lowest-powered bot disinfects SARS-CoV-2 “within seconds”, says the ENT specialist, whose bot with 18 UV lamps can disinfect an entire aircraft in five minutes.

Another product, the UVC Cart, can disinfect traveller luggage in a minute, while the UVC Handy — good for vegetables and others products which come home — is designed like a bottom-open box and can give optimum results in just 20 seconds. PPE suits, too, can be disinfected, reducing the pile-up of hazardous waste.

The company has manufactured both powerful and affordable UVC emitting devices. Its smallest AUM bot emits 700 micro watts per second of disinfecting UVC irradiation, and the most powerful one emits close to 7,000 micro watts per second.

The germicidal UVC lamps generate ozone, which destroys microorganisms on contact and also acts as a deodoriser. Another advantage is that it can be carried by air into places that UVC radiation cannot reach directly. In hospitals, alcohol-based products, pharmaceutical products, and anaesthetic gases produce volatile organic compounds (VOC). “Ozone produced by our UVC lamps helps in reducing these VOCs,” says Dr Krishnamoorthy.

AUM bots have UVC output readings measured at 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 20 and 25 feet and can be set at the required dose using an app. “Every microorganism has a UVC dose at which it will be inactivated… the time needed to achieve complete disinfection can be calculated,” the doctor explains.

Preeti Mehra

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