Researchers Prove Ozone Effective in Disinfecting Covid

A worker wearing protective clothing disinfect Israir plane at the Ben Gurion International Airport. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

esearchers from Tel Aviv University have demonstrated that ozone, which has already long been used as an antibacterial and antiviral agent in water treatment, effectively sanitizes surfaces against Coronavirus after short exposure to low concentrations of ozone.

Studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 remains active on aerosols and surfaces for between several hours to several days, depending on the type of surface and environmental conditions.

In the course of their study, the researchers demonstrated the inactivation from various infected surfaces, even in hard-to-reach locations. They demonstrated a high level of disinfection within minutes, even on surfaces not typically disinfected with manually-applied liquid disinfectants with a statistical success rate of above 90%.

According to Dr. Ines Zucker, of the School of Mechanical Engineering at the Fleischman Faculty of Engineering and the Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Tel Aviv University, the method involves inexpensive and readily available technology, which can be utilized to disinfect hospitals, schools, hotels, and even aircraft and entertainment halls.

“Gaseous ozone is generated from oxygen gas by electrical discharge. Now, for the first time, we have managed to prove that it is highly efficient in combating Coronavirus as well,” Dr. Zucker said.

“Its advantage over common disinfectants (such as alcohol and bleach) is its ability to disinfect objects and aerosols within a 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 COVID-19 outbreak.

The research team was led by Dr. Zucker, with Dr. Moshe Dessau from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine at Bar Ilan University in the Galil and Dr. Yaal Lester from the Azrieli College in Yerushalayim.

The preliminary findings of the study were published in the journal: Environmental Chemistry Letters.

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