“That’s how we do it” – Giessen translation agency hunts down the coronary virus with UV-C rays16. April 2020
“That’s how we do it” – Giessen translation agency hunts down the coronary virus with UV-C rays
“In mid-February, I understood that things were getting serious,” says Aleksandar Miladinovic, owner of the translation office at Oswaldsgarten, which specializes in certified document translations. He himself is a sworn translator and interpreter for ten different languages and works with a wide variety of clients every day – from private individuals to state authorities. “I then began to familiarise myself with relevant literature and scientific articles in order to find a practicable way to efficiently disinfect the documents we work with every day against viruses. Since ‘wet’ disinfection is out of the question for sensitive documents, I quickly came up with disinfection using UV radiation, which is generally said to be very effective against viruses,” says the man in his mid-forties.
“After reading concrete recommendations from the renowned Hong Kong Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infection to disinfect against the corona virus with UV radiation, it was clear to me: That is exactly what we do. Because: UV disinfection is fast, environmentally friendly and does not require any chemicals at all. The UV-C rays destroy the corona virus, which is very sensitive to them, in just a few minutes,” explains Miladinovic. “After we had procured the appropriate technology and started to disinfect all documents in this way before sending them by post, the media reported that the municipal bus company Yanggao in Shanghai had put a UV disinfection chamber into operation that uses 210 lamps to completely disinfect Shanghai’s city buses within a few minutes. The Chinese central bank uses this process to disinfect banknotes. What we do on a small scale in Giessen, the Chinese do big,” the translator smiles.
Since a report on the innovative document disinfection at the Gießen translation agency appeared on the largest industry portal uepo.de a few days ago, the phones there have not stopped ringing. Several translation colleagues from all over Germany have already contacted us to find out how they themselves can best use the Gießen solution. “We are of course happy to help our colleagues with advice,” says Aleksandar Miladinovic, visibly satisfied.
Customers also appreciate this service. Although the Robert Koch Institute has actually given the all-clear for the postal service, many customers are happy about this additional security measure. Especially in the last few days, most of them avoid visiting the office in downtown Gießen personally and place their orders via e-mail and WhatsApp.
Employee Ana Laura Sanchez also reports that the company is currently distributing vouchers to foreign medical professionals who request certified translations of their documents to start working in Germany. “Every doctor, nurse and healthcare professional who submits documents to us for recognition of their professional and academic qualifications will receive a 50 euro voucher for certified translations. We currently have requests from doctors and nurses from Ukraine, Macedonia and Bosnia. This is our contribution to fighting the corona epidemic,” says the Cuban-born doctor with a smile.
Boundless potential of robots in healthcare
Hospital-acquired infections cause extreme health care costs. Every year, the European Union alone has to provide 7 billion euros due to infections with germs. The sources of infection are in particular other patients, staff and hospital equipment. A robot or gripper arm can assist nursing staff in maintaining hygiene, especially on equipment surfaces that are difficult to reach manually. The award-winning UVD robot travels autonomously through the rooms and positions itself in its environment independently. For this function, a laser scanner is installed in the robot, which can detect both the dimensions of the room and the objects located there.
The robot then treats the surfaces in a hospital ward with light from several angles and at close range. The device disinfects any contact surfaces of objects and leaves predestined sources of infection no more chance. The use of the UVD robot is limited to enclosed spaces.
The technology behind the UVD robot can also be extended to other areas, such as the hotel and catering industry, construction and agriculture. “The UV disinfection robot from Blue Ocean Robotics demonstrates the almost limitless potential of robotics when used in new environments,” says Arturo Baroncelli. The former president of the International Federation of Robotics, which is co-presenter of the Iera Award, continues: “The combination of ‘classic’ mechatronic disciplines – typical for robotics – with the know-how of medicine and pharmacy is fantastic proof on this path of progress. The IFR is pleased to acknowledge and support this virtual trend”.
An alternative possibility is the use of antimicrobial surfaces. Nanomaterials are suitable for coating these external surfaces due to their specific properties. Thanks to nanotechnology, surfaces that are difficult for cleaning staff to access, such as cracks, can be provided with additional hygiene protection. Germs that want to settle there would be repelled by the antimicrobial surface.
Safety first: UVD robot has safety features
To ensure that UV-C light has no effect on humans, the smart robot has been equipped with various safety features. For example, the UV-C light switches off automatically as soon as a person enters the room. The work of the robot starts again when the affected room area is empty. For digital support, a tablet with a motion sensor is attached to the door of the patient’s room. The tablet is networked with the robot and transmits a signal if there are still people in the room or entering the room. The robot’s treatment then ends immediately.
UV lamps for thorough disinfection and hygiene
How does UV-C light destroy the corona virus?
Ultraviolet (UV) light is a useful tool for thorough disinfection and hygiene. Especially the UV-C range with wavelengths between 200 and 280 nm is able to eliminate viruses, bacteria, mould and spores – including the Covid-19 coronavirus, SARS, MERS, E. coli, yeast etc. This solution is used in large-scale wastewater treatment, medical facilities, laboratories, manufacturing, food processing and hospitals.
How does disinfection work?
During the disinfection process the UV-C light targets the DNA of the microbe. Exposure to light causes the formation of thymine dimers in the DNA. The more thymine dimers are formed, the more damage begins to accumulate in the DNA. As a result of the dimers, bulges also appear in the DNA. These cellular mutations have a negative effect on growth and the risk of non-repair increases. Eventually the damage becomes too extensive and the cell dies. DNA replication is stopped, which reduces the rate of infection or spread of the virus.
UV-C light and viruses
UV light has been tested as an effective solution against a variety of viruses. According to an article published in the Journal of Virological Methods, SARS caused by the coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is eliminated by exposure to UV light in the 254 nm range. It was also found that UV treatment kills MERS or MERS-CoV, a type of coronavirus that appeared in 2012. In a study published in the National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM) of the US National Institutes of Health, UV-C light deactivated MERS-CoV within 5 to 10 min after exposure.
Regarding the recent outbreak of Covid-19, the effectiveness of UV light in eliminating the virus was confirmed by Juan Leon, an environmental health scientist at Emory University, and Dr. Lena Ciric, an associate professor at University College London. UV-C treatment has already been shown to be effective on earlier strains of the corona virus, i.e. SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, as mentioned above.
No contact with the surface
In contrast to liquid cleaning agents, no contact with the surface or the device is required when disinfecting with UV-C light. It leaves no residues and does not cause discoloration after the process. There is no downtime after sterilization – the area or device can be used immediately after disinfection. It is important to note that the longer the surface, area or device is treated with UV light, the higher the disinfection rate. This is because more thymine dimers are produced in the DNA of the virus. In addition, the UV light should be intense to ensure thorough disinfection. The effectiveness of the light decreases with increasing distance from the light.
Federal Office for Radiation Protection clarifies
There are currently reports about a possible link between UV radiation and the containment of the corona virus. Some people might therefore have the idea of exposing themselves to intensive UV radiation in order to get rid of the corona virus. The Federal Office for Radiation Protection is providing clarification.
What is often not clearly stated in these reports It’s all about sterility of surfaces or things, it’s not about killing the virus on or in living beings. The BfS therefore points out that UV radiation is not suitable for curing COVID-19.