Klaran™ inactivates SARS-CoV-2 in 4 seconds
2020 will go down in history as the year that changed the way we all live our lives. While there have been a number of adjustments that have added a veneer of challenge to our day-to-day, people around the world are pooling resources together to make great strides within corporations and society alike. When all of us were ringing in the new year in 2020, no one expected that roughly 42% of the workforce in the United States would be meeting their occupational goals without stepping foot inside the office. Asahi Kasei, on the other hand, has been able to contribute to society more than ever with an array of products that seem somewhat tailor-made to help us overcome pandemics like this.
Crystal IS, a 100% subsidiary of Asahi Kasei since 2011, has a product with the potential to make big waves in the fight against the Coronavirus. In 1997, two professors from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Leo Schowalter and Glen Slack, took to entrepreneurship by founding Crystal IS to develop aluminum nitride (AlN) substrate technology. This technology was a breakthrough for the Ultraviolet-C (UVC) LED market as these substrates have fewer defects in the layers of semiconductors, ultimately creating a more efficient, cheaper, and higher-powered device. These LEDs have a variety of functions, from monitoring instrumentation of delicate machines in plants or factories, to disinfecting surfaces, air, and water from a wide range of bacteria and viruses.
Crystal IS has achieved over 60 patents pertaining to AlN substrates and been recognized as “disruptors” for their innovative, industry-revolutionizing technology.
In September 2020, a joint study was conducted with Boston University National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) for their acclaimed Klaran UVC LEDs to gauge their efficacy on Covid-19. Klaran LEDs have already been proven effective for disinfection against common threats to our lives like Influenza (H1N1), black mold, and E-Coli, but no one was expecting the results that came from the study.
Log Reduction as a Function of Dose and LED Peak Wavelength
Okay, but what do the numbers in this chart mean? To put it simply: It stops the spread of Covid really, really fast.
260-270nm (nanometers) represents the wavelength of the light that Klaran emits. To give you an idea how short this is, colors of visible light range from Violet (400nm) and Green (510nm), to Red (650nm). That means the yellowish/orange light you may have seen in your office if you were still working from there would be about two times the length of Klaran. Aluminum Nitride substrates allow it to emit light wavelengths so short that they are virtually undetectable by the human eye, yet extraordinarily potent to viruses and bacteria.
The “0.7-3.0” numbers represent the amount of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) that is reduced from an infected surface. A log reduction of 1 means ~90% reduction and a log reduction of 3 means 99.9% reduction of the virus. This means Klaran’s light is so strong and effective that it was able to inactivate 99.8% of the virus in 4 seconds, and 99.9% in 5 seconds from the infected surface.
Yes, you understood correctly. This tiny LED that would look like a spec on your fingertip can emit a light that effectively “kills” the Coronavirus in under 5 seconds.
Well, "kill" is being used as a euphemism here, since viruses are not technically alive until they take a host. To put it scientifically, the UV light disrupts the RNA of viruses in a way that makes them incapable of reproducing. No amount of ingested virus is enough to cause an infection – their explosive rate of reproduction is what makes them so dangerous. This effectively stops Covid in its tracks.
“The feasibility of designing disinfection solutions using UVC LED technology, combined with the germicidal efficacy of Klaran UVC LEDs," Larry continues, "helps bring us closer to a reliable means of controlling the spread of this deadly virus in all confined settings including the home and at work.”
New products focusing on air disinfection with Klaran have been quickly, but carefully, developed since the start of the pandemic. For example, the Healthe Air™ products are currently installed in the Miami Dolphins' locker rooms to keep their players safe during the pandemic. As the virus is primarily transmitted through the air, these types of consumer goods could potentially provide a safe means for us to return to the office.
While we anxiously await a vaccine, Crystal IS is determined to contribute as much as possible to the fight against the pandemic by doubling their production already in 2020 and further increasing production capacity in early 2021. Even after the pandemic is behind us, Klaran LEDs will provide a cleaner, safer solution for the spread of other nasty viruses and bacteria. It’s no wonder this type of solution is coming from the Asahi Kasei Group – we are and will always be creating for tomorrow.
In related news: A UV Accelerator initiative is currently underway at Asahi Kasei and Crystal IS. The two companies will fund up to $250K per company to support and accelerate product development for Klaran. Crystal IS will also provide engineering expertise for the design and control of the UVC LED light source.