Optimizing Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation Operation against the Spreading of COVID-19
The goal of the partnership is to develop an application guideline for the use of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) for surface disinfection in common areas of long-term care facilities to reduce the potential reoccurrence of a pandemic when restrictions on these types of facilities begin to relax. Sanuvox Technologies is a Montreal based global leader in the manufacturing of UVGI equipment. Their current challenge is to ensure the real-life effectiveness of UVGI surface disinfection, which can be hindered by unfavorable space settings and environmental conditions. Logifem, a care provider, faces a shortage of support workers to perform surface disinfection. Long-term care facilities experienced a much higher share of the total infection cases. SARS-CoV-2, which is the causative agent of COVID-19, is readily transmitted through contaminated environmental surfaces of high traffic areas where expiratory droplets deposited. It is difficult to thoroughly disinfect wide areas by convectional contact disinfection means, particularly during the pandemic where support workers are lacked. UVGI is effective in inactivating viruses with specific UVC dose as the radiation breaks bonds in RNA and thus prevents replication of the microorganisms. In fact, UVGI surface disinfection has proved to be an effective solution for hospitals. In other space types, by contrast, the diverse space settings and environmental conditions might not favor UVGI operation. This project will conduct a simulated experiment and field test to determine the optimal range of temperature, relative humidity, furniture distance, surface reflectivity for UVGI operation. The project will provide the partners with evidence-based design, retrofitting, and operational recommendations to support the effective application of UVGI surface disinfection. A broader deployment of UVGI surface disinfection in congregate living facilities will close up a likely path of transmission and protect our population against COVID-19.