Scientists believe governments around the world should employ new antiviral technologies to help their lockdown exit strategies more effective amid COVID-19. Experts say the use of these technologies, including virucidal face masks, new ultraviolet light, and virus-detection ionizer systems, will also help prevent a second wave of the pandemic.

A new form of ultraviolet light that is currently being tested at Columbia University in New York promises a new way of fighting COVID-19 with its potential to totally wipe out all airborne coronaviruses. Early experiments have proven that this technology can kill over 99 percent of flu viruses and coronaviruses.

While ultraviolet light is normally harmful to humans, this new form of ultraviolet light has significantly lower wavelength, making it capable of being deployed on an extensive scale in occupied human environment without posing any risk. Known as UVC, this new technology can be placed above head-light to make trains, buses, aircraft, schools hospitals, and workplaces virtually virus-free.

New technology is also seen to revolutionize the use of face masks. Scientists are currently developing virucidal face masks made of textiles impregnated with virucidal zinc oxide and copper oxide nano-particles, allowing them to trap viruses and converting them into reusable virus killers. While face masks nowadays are mostly non-reusable, virucidal face masks can be washed and reused up to 90 times. These multi-use virucidal face masks are already in development in the U.K.

Another antiviral technology that is seen to help fight future pandemics is the use of virus-detection ionizer systems, which offers a cheap and comprehensive means for public health authorities to detect pandemic emergence and re-emergence. Ionizers technically work in attracting and killing airborne particles like bacteria and viruses. With virus-detection ionization systems, dead viruses and other microbes are examined at the end of each day to detect new viral outbreaks before they even start infecting people.

According to British Occupational Hygiene Society chief executive Kevin Bampton, emerging new technologies are crucial weapons against COVID-19 and future pandemics. “Each technology and strategy is capable of helping to reduce the transmission of coronavirus—but by deploying a range of them, as part of an integrated coordinated national anti-viral program, the impact would almost certainly be much greater,” he said.

COVID-19 COVID-19 around the world. Photo by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay