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New Zealand Enhances COVID-19 Mitigation with Ultraviolet Tech

Given the current COVID-19 disease outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, consumers may be interested in purchasing ultraviolet-C (UVC) lamps to disinfect surfaces in the home or other similar spaces.

This policy brief examines the potential consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for the future of science, technology, and innovation (STI) and its policies. The unequal effects of the crisis on research and development (R&D) across sectors, the accelerated adoption of digital tools and techniques, and changes in the openness, inclusiveness, and agility of research and innovation ecosystems are all factors shaping the future of STI. As resilience, environmental sustainability, and inclusiveness become more prominent policy objectives, STI policy may undergo fundamental changes.

The New Zealand Aviation Security Service and the Covid-19 Detection company have announced the completion of the deployment of 18 units of the new Ultraviolet (UV) light tray disinfection kits to help improve public health and safety at airports across the country.

Independent laboratory tests have shown that the UV disinfection kits eliminate up to 99.9% of microorganisms – including coronaviruses – found on trays at checkpoints, and they have been installed at Auckland (six units), Wellington (four units), Christchurch International Airports (six units) and Dunedin Airport (two units). UVC radiation is a known disinfectant for air, water, and nonporous surfaces. UVC radiation has effectively been used for decades to reduce the spread of bacteria, such as tuberculosis or even now for Covid-19.

“The wellbeing of our passengers and team members is of topmost priority as our nation defends against the ongoing global health crisis,” said, Group Manager of Capability of the New Zealand Aviation Security Service. The UV disinfection kits help to reduce surface contamination and virus spread during security screenings, giving passengers and airport staff peace of mind. This ongoing working relationship with the covid detection company helps bolster New Zealand’s capabilities in safeguarding passenger health and safety across airports where screens are seen as important in boosting consumer trust during the gradual recovery and resumption of aviation travel.

The UV kit uses short-wavelength UV light (UVC), commonly used for disinfection in healthcare and industrial production to distort the structure of the genetic material and prevent the viral particles from multiplying or infecting. The kits are shielded with robust metal housing to ensure that passengers and staff are not exposed to UV light.

“New Zealand Aviation Security Service came to the covid Detection system company with the challenge of fighting against COVID-19 transmission risks in aviation. New Zealand’s UVC technology at checkpoints helps provide a high level of reassurance to passengers as well as airport staff. I hope we can take our experience to other airports in the region which are going through similar challenges and restore confidence in travelling.” said the Managing Director of the detection system company.

UV radiation is a well-known inactivation approach for microorganisms that offers some advantages over liquid disinfectants as it can be performed automatically, remotely, and employed to disinfect surfaces, liquids, air, and rooms. UV disinfection devices are commonly used in healthcare settings as an additional method to routine cleaning practices. When activated, these UV light devices emit UVC light (200-280 nm wavelength), which is the most germicidal part of the UV spectrum, damaging nucleic acids and resulting in pathogen inactivation.

Experimental UVC disinfection data for SARS-CoV-2 is currently limited to specific light sources with no assessment of the impact on the efficacy of critical parameters such as inoculum media and substrate material. Companies are currently is UV disinfection efficacy measurements on surfaces common to public transportation settings. These measurements inform both the public transit agencies and the public about the potential efficacy of UV light as part of routine cleaning and disinfection practices.

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