The value of photomedicine in a global health crisis: Utilizing ultraviolet C to decontaminate N95 respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Photodermatology, photoimmunology & photomedicine


One early problem during the height of the COVID-19 global pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was the shortage of personal protective equipment donned by healthcare workers, particularly N95 respirators. Given the known virucidal, bactericidal, and fungicidal properties of ultraviolet irradiation, in particular ultraviolet C (UVC) radiation, our photomedicine and photobiology unit explored the role of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) using UVC in effectively decontaminating N95 respirators. The review highlights the important role of photobiology and photomedicine in this pandemic. Namely, the goals of this review were to highlight: UVGI as a method of respirator disinfection-specifically against SARS-CoV-2, adverse reactions to UVC and precautions to protect against exposure, other methods of decontamination of respirators, and the importance of respirator fit testing.

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ePub ahead of print