Gaseous ozone found to be effective disinfectant against Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Researchers from TAU and other Israeli institutions say the gas destroys virus within minutesSupport this research
Studies have shown that the Coronavirus remains active on aerosols and surfaces for between several hours and several days, depending on the nature of the surface and environmental conditions. Tel Aviv University (TAU) researchers have now demonstrated that gaseous ozone, already used as an antibacterial and antiviral agent in water treatment, effectively sanitizes surfaces against Coronavirus after short exposure to low concentrations of ozone.
The research team was led by Dr. Ines Zucker from TAU’s School of Mechanical Engineering at the Ivy and Eldar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering and the Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. The preliminary findings of the study were published on January 13, 2021, in Environmental Chemistry Letters.
Ozone is a thin layer of the Earth’s atmosphere that guards against the harmful effects of UV radiation. However, ozone is also known to be a strong oxidant and disinfectant and is therefore employed in water and wastewater treatment schemes. The research team decided to adapt the mechanisms whereby they use ozone to break down organic pollutants from contaminated waters and demonstrate the expected efficacy of the ozone in neutralizing Coronavirus.
The researchers demonstrated the inactivation of the virus from various infected surfaces, even in hard-to-reach locations. They found a high level of disinfection within minutes, even on surfaces not typically disinfected with manually-applied liquid disinfectants, achieving a statistical success rate of above 90%.
According to Dr. Zucker, the method involves inexpensive and readily available technology, which can be utilized to disinfect hospitals, schools, hotels, and even aircraft and entertainment halls.
Ozone gas is generated through the use of electric current, in the course of which oxygen molecules are reconstructed in the form of ozone molecules. “Now, for the first time, we have managed to prove that it is highly efficient in combating Coronavirus as well,” Dr. Zucker says. “Its advantage over common disinfectants, such as alcohol and bleach, is its ability to disinfect objects and aerosols within an entire room, and not just exposed surfaces, rapidly and with no danger to public health.”
Dr. Zucker estimates that, since the gas can be produced relatively cheaply and easily, it should be possible to introduce ozone disinfecting systems on an industrial scale to combat the Coronavirus outbreak.
Dr. Zucker’s collaborators included Dr. Moshe Dessau of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine at Bar Ilan University in the Galilee and Dr. Yaal Lester of the Azrieli College in Jerusalem.
The research paper is available at the journal’s web site here.