A United Nations-backed scientific research centre has teamed up with an Italian tech firm to explore whether laser light can be used to kill coronavirus particles suspended in the air and help keep indoor spaces safe.
The joint effort between the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) of Trieste, a city in the north of Italy, and the nearby Eltech K-Laser company, was launched last year as Covid-19 was battering the country.
They created a device that forces air through a sterilization chamber that contains a laser beam filter that pulverizes viruses and bacteria. “I thought lasers were more for a shaman rather than a doctor but I have had to change my mind.
The device proved able to kill the viruses in less than 50 milliseconds,” said Serena Zacchigna, group leader for Cardiovascular Biology at the ICGEB.
Healthy indoor environments with a substantially reduced pathogen count are deemed essential for public health in the post-Covid-19 crisis, a respiratory infection that has caused more than four million deaths worldwide in barely 18 months.