Can sunlight or UV light kill the novel coronavirus?

Sunlight is made up of three types of ultraviolet (UV) light. UVA and UVB light penetrate the skin and are responsible for sunburns and skin aging. UVC light is filtered out by the earth’s atmosphere.

Lab studies of the similar SARS virus showed that UVA or UVB light alone isn't very good at killing the virus. Cities in China that got more UVA and UVB had just as much COVID-19 as the rest of China. So you can't rely on sunlight (UVA or UVB light) to kill the novel coronavirus.

UVC light may kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces. UVC light is being used to sterilize medical equipment  in China and Europe. Columbia University is also testing a new technology that uses a type of UVC light called far-UVC light (207 nm) to kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces.

But, you should not purposely expose yourself to any UV light to prevent infection with the virus. UV light of any kind can seriously damage your skin and eyes, suppress your immune system, and cause cancer.

Last update:  April 24, 2020, 11:30 AM
Science review: HY, JAB, ERS