New research conducted by Israeli researchers at Tel Aviv University, Bar Ilan University, and the Azrieli College, found that ozone, a gas found in the atmosphere, is an effective disinfectant in fighting the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The study found that it is possible to destroy the virus within minutes by gaseous ozone, which can be produced synthetically.
The advantage of gaseous ozone over liquid disinfectants such as alcohol and bleach is its ability to clear entire rooms, including all objects found in it and hard-to-reach locations.
Studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 remains active on aerosols and surfaces for between several hours and several days, depending on the nature of the surface and environmental conditions.
The researchers 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.
The research team was led by Dr. Ines Zucker from the School of Mechanical Engineering at the Ivy and Eldar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering and the Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at the Tel Aviv University.
Dr. Zucker collaborated with Dr. Moshe Dessau from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine at Bar Ilan University in the Galilee and Dr. Yaal Lester from the Azrieli College in Jerusalem to investigate the feasibility of ozone for indoor inactivation of SARS-CoV-2.
Ozone is a layer of the Earth’s atmosphere that guards it against the harmful effects of UV radiation. However, ozone is also known as a strong oxidant and disinfectant employed in water and wastewater treatment schemes.
The team adapted the mechanisms in which they use ozone to break down organic pollutants from contaminated waters and demonstrated the efficacy of the ozone in neutralizing Coronavirus.
Ozone gas is generated by electrical discharge in the course of which oxygen molecules are reconstructed in the form of ozone molecules.
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%.
Dr. Zucker noted that the method involves inexpensive and readily available technology, which can be utilized to disinfect hospitals, schools, hotels, aircraft, and entertainment halls.
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.