Does ozone sterilization kill the Coronavirus which causes COVID-19?
23 June 2023
26 March 2020
No medical event in recent history has made a bigger impact on global health and the economy, than Coronavirus, and the COVID-19 disease.
At the time of writing, most major economies are entering into some form of lockdown, causing significant disruption to businesses and drastically changing the way we live our lives for the next few months.
Governments, Industry and Citizens are united in trying to slow the spread of COVID-19, to give health services time to prepare for the explosion in the demand for care. Sanitizing our homes, workplaces and public spaces is a key tactic in the fight against Coronavirus, to stop the spread of COVID-19. One method of sterilization is by using ozone. Outside of industrial hygiene applications, ozone sterilization is commonly used in hospitals to sanitize equipment and significantly reduce or eliminate the spread of bacteria. Hence the question being asked is – “Can ozone sterilization kill the Coronavirus which causes the COVID-19 disease?”
This blog post looks at the evidence and highlights the benefits of sterilizing environments with ozone, as well as it’s associated risks.
Ozone sterilization proven to kill SARS-CoV virus
There are currently no examples in the public domain, of ozone sterilization was successfully used to kill the current strain of Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 (technical name of the Coronavirus which causes the COVID-19 disease). However, there are reasons to believe it would be effective:
During the SARS epidemic of 2003, ozone sterilization was successfully used to purify environments infected with the deadly Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-1, the virus which causes the SARS disease.
As SARS-CoV-1 is also a member of the Coronavirus family, it is highly likely that ozone sterilization would be effective at killing SARS-CoV-2, the Coronavirus which causes the COVID-19 disease.
How does ozone sterilization kill coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are classified as “enveloped viruses”, which are typically more susceptible to “Physico-chemical challenges”. In other words, they don’t like being exposed to ozone.
Ozone destroys this type of virus by breaking through the outer shell into the core, resulting in damage to the viral RNA. Ozone can also damage the outer shell of the virus in a process called oxidation.
Put simply, exposing Coronaviruses to sufficient ozone dose (ppm x time) can result in them being 99% damaged or destroyed.
Tests conclude ozone can kill coronavirus
Aeroqual partner with a number of manufacturers who produce ozone sterilization equipment. JIMCO, one of these partners and the makers of the FLO-D MINI – Mark 2, have had this product tested, which confirmed its effectiveness at killing the coronavirus. Dr. Brill + Dr. Steinmann from the Institute for Hygiene and Microbiology conducted this test on 5/19/2010. Here is what they found – “The conclusion can be drawn that after passing examinations with MVA [in Europe, MVA represents the official model virus for all enveloped viruses] an activity against all enveloped viruses including members of the virus family coronaviridae (like MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2) is achieved”.
The ozone sterilization process is simple. Firstly, vacate the environment to be sterilized, roll in an ozone sterilization product, set it to add the appropriate quantity of ozone to the environment. After which it is vital that you monitor when it is safe to re-enter the space.
What are the risks of ozone sterilization?
Breathing even small amounts of ozone can be harmful. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, and aggravation of lung diseases like asthma. At higher concentrations you can smell ozone, but it becomes harmful even at lower doses. For that reason, many countries have set an 8-hour exposure limit of 70 ppb (parts per billion) ozone. In the EU the limit is set even lower. Ozone is one of six common pollutants limited by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and other country’s Environmental regulators. Exposure to ozone in the workplace is controlled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and their counterparts around the world.
Reduce the risk of ozone exposure by monitoring
The problem is that the equipment for measuring ozone is either a) accurate but too expensive, or b) affordable but not accurate. This is why Aeroqual came up with option c) ozone monitoring systems that are both accurate and affordable.
Please get in touch if you have any further questions on monitoring ozone.