HealthTech vs. Corona: Prevention of infections with light

Dr. Lutz Rothe is considered a pioneer and famous inventor.

Since April 3, the mesh requirement has been passed almost everywhere in Germany. Only in Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania does it still say “mask up!” When a particular region has been declared a hotspot. With incidences of over 800, the new ease of the pandemic is surprising at first glance. But a Leipzig HealthTech start-up proves that you can still protect yourself effectively against corona and other infections. Inventor and founder Dr. Lutz Rothe is dependent on the effect of light waves for this.

In the café, fitness center or office: With UVC rays against bacteria, viruses and co.

In professional circles, the Leipzig engineer is known and appreciated for his technical ingenuity. The flat antennas on cars, the signal amplifiers for telephone calls in the Berlin S-Bahn or the SOS poles on the German Autobahn go back to him. But in the midst of the pandemic, the latest invention from Dr. Lutz Rothe probably has the greatest potential.

The idea sounds simple, but experts say it has good prospects of revolutionizing infection control. Light rays emitted by a small device in the ceiling are intended to inactivate viruses, bacteria and other germs in the air and on surfaces before infection occurs. “We want to prevent more than 20 million people dying each year from bacteria, viruses and multi-resistant bacteria,” says Rothe, describing the vision behind his innovation. From the café to the fitness center to the office, almost all public interiors could be equipped with the inconspicuous spotlights. In other words, the places that doctors have repeatedly identified as hot spots of the pandemic.

At the right time, in the right place: will spotlights become a game changer in the pandemic?

That light could be perhaps the most important disinfectant of the future is no longer news among well-known radiation scientists like David Brenner from Columbia University in New York. What is new, however, is that theory now becomes practice.

Rothe and his team from Viraprevent attract a lot of attention from many companies with the patented spotlight, which is hardly bigger than a smoke detector. Restaurateurs, airlines, medical practices are among those interested. Because no matter how many people or many pathogens meet, the specially adapted UVC light can become the new gold standard for health protection.

Viraprevent has been shown to inactivate 99.9% of viruses and bacteria.

Multi-resistant pathogens: high technology as a beacon of hope

For example, when it comes to combating the transmission of multi-resistant bacteria that can no longer be treated with antibiotics. A danger that doctors have long warned about, as in the trade magazine The Lancet, could at least be rendered harmless. And Rothe is also expanding its vision beyond the pandemic. “Corona will continue to exist, and unfortunately it will not have been the last pandemic either,” he is sure. But the pandemic has created a new awareness in the community when it comes to dealing with infectious diseases, he sums up his observations. Innovations from the healthcare technology industry, such as UVC emitters, are increasingly accepted and can be a solution to avoid the dilemma between the highest possible level of healthcare protection and the desire for social exchange outside the online world.

Light disinfection: Cheap and without chemicals

The number of providers that rely on light waves as an effective disinfectant can still be counted on one hand. But probably not much longer. Without chemicals and at the same time cheap, the effect of the light rays is already scientifically confirmed. With an applied wavelength of 190 – 230 nanometers, the UV rays are harmless to human skin and eyes. Rooms up to 140 cubic meters can be reliably disinfected in a few minutes, explains Viraprevent. “We are currently working on small versions for taxis and elevators,” says Dr. Lutz Rothe a view on the planned expansion of the product range. Little by little, the air and surfaces in our everyday spaces can become cleaner and life without a mask safer.

photos: Dr. Lutz Rothe / Viraprevent

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