Dunedin Hospital draws on decades-old technology to fight COVID-19

Dr Brendan Arnold in front of a UV-C light
Dr Brendan Arnold in front of a UV-C light
Decades-old technology is being brought back in the fight against the COVID-19 virus.

Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) light has been used extensively as a disinfectant for more than 40 years. Following research proving its effectiveness in inactivating the COVID-19 virus, the latest in UV-C lighting technology has been installed at Dunedin Hospital in what’s believed to be a New Zealand first.

Patients from the southern region with COVID-19 who need to come to hospital will be cared for at Dunedin Hospital, and infectious disease physician Dr Brendan Arnold has overseen the installation of a first set of 20 Philips UV-C ‘upper air disinfection units’ in the hospital.

The UV-C light neutralises the virus in the air at the top of the room while the normal hospital ventilation system circulates the air, exposing the virus to the UV-C. Staff can continue to work safely underneath.

New Zealand Country Leader for Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Chris Morris, says laboratory research has shown that Philips UV-C disinfection upper air wall mount luminaires inactivated 99.99% of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 disease, in the air of a room within 10 minutes. At 20 minutes, the virus was below detectable levels.

“This indicates that, in most indoors situations, upper air UV-C can remove pathogens including SARS-Cov-2 from the air with greater efficacy than natural or mechanical ventilation,” says Mr Morris.


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