Can you really catch a virus from a shared worksurface?
Yes. According to the CDC and confirmed by the World Health Organization, US Department of Homeland Security, and The National Institute of Health and documented in the New England Journal of Medicine, any infected employee can cough or exhale and release droplets of infected fluid on surfaces, which can live and infect others for 3 days or longer. “A person can become infected by touching a surface where these droplets land before touching their eyes, mouth, or nose.”
Clinical evidence shows that high-touch surfaces play a significant role in pathogen transmission. Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona, generally regarded as the nation’s leading expert on Environmental Biology, demonstrated how quickly germs travel through an office environment when just one person comes to work sick. In his 2012 study, a single infected person using a shared keyboard spread the infection to over 50% of keyboards in an 80-person department within 4 hours.
What are organizations doing to prevent virus outbreaks from shared desks and why are these problematic?
To address this issue, most companies today manually disinfect all common areas and shared work environments daily. However, an Ohio State University research study demonstrated that cleaning crews can miss up to 50% of the surface area.
Many companies will place disinfecting wipes on the desks for the employees to wipe down prior to starting their day, though this is also unreliable. First, employees may simply forget as the muscle memory of sitting down with a cup of coffee and getting right to work returns. They also often neglect to disinfect the monitor, which is touched when adjusted. Additionally, the keyboard is difficult to properly sanitize with wipes or a cloth.
But the biggest problem with wipes is that it is easy to just spread the germs across the desk if not done correctly. Disinfection, as detailed on the instruction labels, calls for applying the disinfectant and leaving it wet and untouched for anywhere from 4 to 10-minutes, depending on the brand. This is very rarely done. The typical 15-second swish could actually do more harm than good.
Clearly, a virus mitigation strategy that relies solely on manual cleaning or employees wiping down the desk themselves is likely ineffective.
Why is a multilayered virus mitigation strategy so important?
Because of the unreliability of manual cleaning and the demand for a safe workplace, organizations are supplementing their virus mitigation strategy with UVC disinfection lights to kill any virus or harmful microorganism that can be transmitted to other employees.
This multilayered approach ensures that whatever pathogen is not “killed” by one method (for example, manual surface cleaning) is inactivated by another (UVC).
All guidelines from the CDC, FDA and EPA to businesses for virus prevention explain that no one single tactic is 100% effective and that a multilayered approach is required to provide the safeguards to prevent the risk of infection spreading throughout the organization.
What is ultraviolet light?
UV or ultraviolet light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which includes radio waves at one end and gamma rays at the other.
The energy produced by the sun is electromagnetic radiation with many different wavelengths. Only a small portion of these wavelengths are visible to the human eye. These visible wavelengths are seen as colors of the rainbow depending on the wavelength. Red has the longest visible wavelength and violet has the shortest visible wavelength. Waves longer than those seen as red, are called infrared. Waves shorter than violet are called ultraviolet, as in “beyond violet”. Ultraviolet light comes in different lengths too.
The wavelength of light is defined as the distance between two identical point of the light wave, for example, one crest to the next. They are measured in nanometers, which is one billionth of a meter.
The wavelength of UV light ranges from 10nm to 400nm and is classified into 3 sub-bands: UV-A (315-400 nm), which are blacklights, UV-B (280 – 315nm), which is the light that tans the human skin and, if overexposed, causes sunburn, and UV-C (100-280nm), which is a known virus killer.
What is the history UVC light as a virus killer?
The disinfection properties of ultraviolet lighting have been known for over 140 years when the antibacterial effects of the shorter wavelengths of sunlight were discovered.
Shortly thereafter, it was proven that the UV portions of the light spectrum, specifically in the 200nm to 280nm range, were able to destroy microorganisms,
The first germicidal lamp was invented in 1904. It replicated the UV wavelengths that disinfect surfaces, air, and water and was initially used to ward off tuberculosis in hospitals.
How does UVC light kill harmful pathogens and microorganisms?
The UV-C wavelengths at the upper end of the spectrum, between 254 – 279nm are the most effective at killing microorganisms and eliminating viruses, harmful bacteria, mold and spores including SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), e-coli, yeast and other coronaviruses.
This is because UVC light destroys the genetic bonds in pathogens rendering them unable to replicate and perform vital cellular functions. These mutations destroy their nucleic acids and disrupt their DNA, preventing cellular growth and killing the microorganism.
Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, numerous studies, including the American Journal of Infection Control, have proven the susceptibility of SARS-CoV-2 to UV irradiation.
How is UVC light currently used?
UVC radiation is a known disinfectant for air, water, and nonporous surfaces. It has been used in large scale wastewater treatment, medical facilities, factories, laboratories, food processing, hospitals, mass transit and in HVAC systems for decades.
It is currently being used to sterilize drinking water for billions of people around the world.
Is UVC light harmful to people?
Yes, but only with direct human exposure to the skin or eyes. UVC can damage the cornea in our eyes and can damage skin cells. This is why the Uvio Light was designed to be used after hours when the building in unoccupied. Further, because of the direct exposure threat, Uvio has a dual safety feature to protect against any kind of exposure to the light.
Are there any safety precautions that should be taken when using the Uvio Light?
No. As long as the light is not used within 6 feet of a person, Uvio can present no danger to people. It is also important to note that UV light can present no danger from surfaces after they have been disinfected. The only damage can come from direct UV exposure.
What if someone walks into the area where the Uvio light is disinfecting a surface?
Uvio has a dual security feature to ensure its safety:
- The Uvio Light has a proximity sensor with auto shut-off, using a passive infrared sensor, that turns the light off if any motion is detected within 20’ feet from the light
- Additionally, the Uvio Light has a microwave sensor that cuts off the UVC light if body heat is detected within 10’.
How long does the Uvio light have to be on to inactivate viruses?
Uvio requires up to 2 hours to inactivate 99.9% of viruses in a 4’ x 2’ area.
How much surface area will the Uvio light disinfect?
With 2 hours of use, Uvio, installed at the top of the monitor at 14” to 22” above the desk, will disinfect an area that is 48” wide by 24” deep.
How much electricity does the Uvio light use?
How is the Uvio Light cleaned?
Uvio should be cleaned with an anti-static dry cloth. Uvio should not be cleaned with a damp or wet cloth.
What if the objects I want to disinfect are damp?
Uvio disinfects damp objects with no problem.
What is the range of ambient temperature?
0°C – 40°C, 32°F – 104°F
Does Uvio produce ozone?
What happens if there is a failure within the LED array? Can I replace an LED myself?
In the unlikely event of LED array malfunction, please contact our service team:
firstname.lastname@example.org. We will replace the light within the 5-year warranty. Do not attempt to replace LED by yourself.
Will the Uvio light damage materials?
UVC light can degrade certain materials, such as plastic, with prolonged overuse. Two hours of use is recommended as it disinfects most of the standard desktop (approximately 4’ w x 2’ d) while staying well within the limits of any material degradation.