10:10 GMT15 April 2021
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    Ultraviolet (UV) light is a type of electromagnetic radiation that has more energy than radio waves or visible light. UV light has been shown to kill bacteria and viruses, including the outer proteins coating of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

    UVeya, a Swiss start-up company, has developed robots that can deploy virus-killing UV light to kill SARS-CoV-2. 

    According to a report by Reuters, UVeya and Dubai-based airport services company Dnata are currently conducting trials of the robot inside Embraer jets from Helvetic Airways. 

    One robot can disinfect a single-aisled plane in around 13 minutes, the report noted. 

    Although the trials are currently underway, the devices have not yet been certified and aircraft makers are unsure what effect the light could have on interior upholstery, which could fade after exposure to the light.

    “This is a proven technology, it’s been used for over 50 years in hospitals and laboratories, it’s very efficient,”  UVeya co-founder Jodoc Elmiger told Reuters Wednesday. 

    “It doesn’t leave any trace or residue,” he added, also noting that he estimates the robots will sell for around $16,000.

    “If our passengers, if our crew know our aircraft are safe - that there are no viruses or bacteria - it could help them to fly again,” Mehdi Guenin, a Helvetic spokesperson, also told the outlet.

    According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), UV-C radiation, which refers to UV light between 200 nanometers and 280 nanometers, destroys the outer coating of SARS-CoV-2, which leads to the inactivation of the virus.

    The application of UV-C to disinfection is mostly used in medication sanitation. It has also been used to sterilize wastewater. Despite UV-C’s disinfectant properties, it is hazardous to most living things. Exposure to germicidal wavelengths of UV light can lead to sunburn, skin cancer, vision impairment or even blindness in some cases.

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    Tags:
    COVID-19, robot, planes, Switzerland
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