A September 2021 study found exciting evidence that suggests blue light could inactivate certain viruses, including alpa and beta coronaviruses. Here’s what that means, and why it’s worth getting excited.
FROM THE STUDY
Researchers investigated the effects of 405 nm, 410 nm, 425 nm and 450 nm pulsed blue light on two strains of coronavirus. Alpha HCoV-229 E and beta HCoV-OC43 are similar to SARS-CoV-2 in that all three are single-stranded RNA viruses transmitted by air and direct contact. Both HCoV-229 E and HCoV-OC43 have similar genomic sizes as SARS-CoV-2 and were used as surrogates in the study.
Researchers tested two wavelengths and found that pulsed blue light was antiviral against both coronaviruses. However, 405 nm light had the best result, with a 52.3% inactivation against HCoV-OC43 and a 44% inactivation of HCoV-229E. SARS-CoV-2 is a beta coronavirus and may be more susceptible to pulsed blue light irradiation that the alpa strains.
The big takeaway is that while potency varies from one virus to the next, the antiviral effects of pulsed blue light may be more potent against beta coronaviruses. Plus, since the effects were more significant at a higher irradiance, researchers conclude with a 100% inactivation of these viruses may be possible with more refining.
“Our findings have significant implications in the ongoing effort to mitigate coronavirus epidemics and pandemics, given the novelty of using blue light to inactivate coronaviruses compared to three popular ways currently used to minimize the lethality and spread of coronavirus diseases—the vaccine approach, hand washing and social distancing approach, and the use of germicidal UV. The first two approaches, vaccination, and the combination of hand-washing and social distancing effectively reduce the spread and severity of coronavirus diseases. However, they do not inactive coronaviruses, meaning that the viruses remain in the environment and society must adapt to living with coronaviruses indefinitely. The seasonal prevalence of viral diseases, such as the common cold coronavirus and flu that infected more than 105 million people and killed over 133,000 in the United States alone between 2016 and 2019 , even though vaccines have been available for these diseases for decades, is strong evidence that vaccines mostly enable humanity to cope with such infections.
These observations make PBL a viable alternative germicidal that deserve further studies since: (a) microbial nucleic acids are damaged both by UV and violet-blue wavelengths, and (b) violet-blue wavelengths are safer and not known to damage hydrocarbons. Violet-blue light devices approved by the FDA in the United States have been in use and are not known to be harmful when used as recommended. This means that PBL can be deployed publicly without worrying about the type of harmful effects associated with UV. PBL is less reactive than UV, and unlike UV, it does not decompose fluids or damage plastic and rubber tubing in medical equipment and devices. This accounts for our focus on PBL instead of UV, even though UV is well-known to be antiviral. Further, given the ubiquity of inexpensive blue LEDs, this proof-of-concept study could pave the way for novel light-based technologies that could be used to treat patients, and safely disinfect tools, equipment, hospital facilities, emergency care vehicles, airplanes, trains, cars, homes, the general environment and other spaces.”
LOW-LEVEL LASER AT DR. MCSWEENEY’S RENO PRACTICE
Dr. McSweeney uses an Erchonia EVRL in her Reno practice. It delivers a 405 nm pulsed light just like the model used in the study. For improved immune function, application of the light is on the spleen and Thymus gland. For infection and inflammation, it’s on the lungs and lymph nodes.
While researchers continue exploring the role of blue light in the inactivation of coronavirus strains, you can benefit from its proven power for reducing pain and inflammation. Schedule a visit with Dr. McSweeney today!