The first time I used the Philips UV-C disinfection desk lamp, I pressed the start button and ran like a bat out of hell - no thanks to the many warnings on the box about how ultraviolet-C rays are harmful to humans and animals.
So the moment the robotic voice announced that the "disinfection process is about to start. To avoid ultraviolet exposure, please leave the room and close the door," I was not hanging around to chance being exposed to the radiation.
My fears were, of course, unfounded. Signify, formerly Philips Lighting, has been at the forefront of UV technology for over 35 years and knows how to make its products safe for consumers. The lamp's safety features include built-in movement sensors and timers.
Once I got used to playing with such a lethal (to germs) weapon, though, I enjoyed the peace of mind - knowing that, in this pandemic age, viruses, bacteria, mold and spores were being zapped to oblivion in my home.
Signify partnered with the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories at Boston University to create the lamp.
Anthony Griffiths, an associate professor of microbiology at the university's school of medicine, and his team treated inoculated material with different doses of UV-C radiation coming from a Signify light source and assessed the inactivation capacity under various conditions. Based on the data, they determined that a dose of 22 millijoules per square centimeter will result in a reduction of 99.9999 percent of Sars-CoV-2 in 25 seconds.
"Our test results show that above a specific dose of UV-C radiation, viruses were completely inactivated: in a matter of seconds, we could no longer detect any virus," said Griffiths. "We hope this will accelerate the development of products that can help limit the spread of Covid-19."
Signify CEO Eric Rondolat said the company plans to share its findings. "Given the potential of the technology to aid the fight against the coronavirus, Signify will not keep the technology for exclusive use, but make it available to other lighting companies."
The lamp (HK$839) will be available from early next month.