Wednesday February 20, 2019
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Scientists discover UV light to kill flu virus

By contrast, the study found that continuous low doses of far-UVC light, which is around 207 to 222 nanometers in wavelength, is capable to inactivate more than 95 percent of aerosolized H1N1 flu virus in a lab setting

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earlier studies have proved that far-UVC light is not harmful to the human body. Wikimedia Commons
earlier studies have proved that far-UVC light is not harmful to the human body. Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have discovered a special type of ultraviolet (UV) light that can kill airborne flu viruses without harming human tissues, according to a new study.

Broad-spectrum ultraviolet C (UVC) light, which has a wavelength of between 200 to 400 nanometers, has been routinely used to kill bacteria and viruses by destroying the molecular bonds that hold their DNA together, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Unfortunately, conventional germicidal UV light is also a human health hazard and can lead to skin cancer and cataracts, which prevents its use in public spaces,” said David J.

Also Read: Scientists Use Pocket-size Device to Map Human Genetic Code

Brenner, lead author and director of the Centre for Radiological Research at Columbia University Irving Medical Centre, in a statement on Saturday.

By contrast, the study found that continuous low doses of far-UVC light, which is around 207 to 222 nanometers in wavelength, is capable to inactivate more than 95 percent of aerosolized H1N1 flu virus in a lab setting.

Moreover, earlier studies have proved that far-UVC light is not harmful to the human body.

If these results are confirmed in other scenarios, the use of overhead far-UVC light in hospitals, doctors’ offices, schools, airports, aeroplanes and other public spaces could provide a powerful check on seasonal flu epidemics and pandemics, said the study.

Also Read: Your body could soon power wearable devices

Flu activity continues to increase across the United States, making the season the most recent “high” severity season, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report on Friday.

Sixty-three children died from flu this winter, it added. (IANS)

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DNA Can Get Changed Due To Heavy Drinking: Study

In 2016, more than 3 million people died from the harmful use of alcohol. More than three quarters of alcohol-caused deaths were among men.

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DNA
Heavy drinking can change your DNA: Study

Are you a heavy drinker? Take note. Besides alcohol taking a toll on your health in many ways, it may also trigger a long-lasting genetic change resulting in an even greater craving for alcohol, researchers including one of Indian-origin have warned.

“We found that people who drink heavily may be changing their DNA in a way that makes them crave alcohol even more,” said Dipak K. Sarkar, Professor at Rutgers University in the US.

“This may help explain why alcoholism is such a powerful addiction, and may one day contribute to new ways to treat alcoholism or help prevent at-risk people from becoming addicted,” said Sarkar.

Hangovers might last longer than you think
Hangovers might also last longer than you think. Pixabay

For the study, researchers focused on two genes implicated in the control of drinking behaviour: PER2, which influences the body’s biological clock, and POMC, which regulates our stress-response system.

By comparing groups of moderate, binge and heavy drinkers, the team found that the two genes had changed in binge and heavy drinkers through an alcohol-influenced gene modification process called methylation, according to the findings, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

In addition, the binge and heavy drinkers also showed reductions in gene expression, or the rate at which these genes create proteins. These changes increased with greater alcohol intake.

Alcohol is linked with 7 cancers.

Also, in another experiment, the drinkers viewed stress-related, neutral or alcohol-related images. They were also shown containers of beer and subsequently tasted beer, and their motivation to drink was evaluated.

Results showed that alcohol-fuelled changes in the genes of binge and heavy drinkers were associated with a greater desire for alcohol.

Also Read: Protein Found in Spinach May Treat Alcohol Abuse, Mood Disorders

The findings may eventually help researchers identify biomarkers — measurable indicators such as proteins or modified genes — that could predict an individual’s risk for binge or heavy drinking, Sarkar noted.

In 2016, more than 3 million people died from the harmful use of alcohol. More than three quarters of alcohol-caused deaths were among men. The harmful use of alcohol also caused 5.1 per cent of disease and injuries worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. (IANS)