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The London tube community will increase the antiviral regime with dynamo-powered UV lights

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Hundreds of the devices will be installed on the London Underground network.

(c) Transport to London

Over 200 devices that use ultraviolet light to disinfect surfaces are to be installed in the extensive London tube network.

In a statement Monday, Transport for London said the technology will be deployed on the handrails of 110 escalators for the next few weeks.

According to TfL, the devices use a "small dynamo" to generate electricity from the movement of the handrail, which in turn powers the UV lamp that is used to disinfect the surface.

The rollout will take place after a six-week test at an underground station serving Heathrow Airport. Six escalators in King & # 39; s Cross St. Pancras have now been fitted with the same equipment as used at other major stops such as Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Waterloo.

The technology is deployed at a time when there is increasing concern about the cleanliness of surfaces due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite debates in the scientific community about the risk of transmission of inanimate objects.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on their website, "It is possible that a person could get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on and then their own Touches her mouth, her own nose, or her own eyes. "

However, it adds, "The spread from touching surfaces is not considered a common way of spreading COVID-19." Most commonly, the virus spreads through close contact between people, according to the CDC.

Regarding its own operations, TfL said, "While UV light has been shown to disable previous strains of coronavirus, Covid-19 is still too new for similar clinical trials to be completed in the UK."

However, the transport agency found that the devices had "improved the cleanliness of the handrail surfaces of escalators by at least 50 percent" in their trial.

TfL is one of many organizations that are increasingly trying to keep rooms with high visitor numbers clean. The "antiviral cleaning system" involves the use of "hospital-grade detergents that kill viruses and bacteria on contact and allow continuous disinfection".

In addition, more than 1,000 hand sanitization stations have been added to the network while passengers are required to wear face covers when using their services, although there are a few exceptions.

There are three main types of UV radiation: UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. The US Food and Drug Administration has described the latter as a "well-known disinfectant for air, water and non-porous surfaces" used in the London pipeline network.

In fact, UV-C has been used in a number of industries for many years, from retail to transportation to office space.

The consumer market is also turning to UV-C lighting. Signify – a major player in the lighting industry – is now offering so-called "desk lamps" for sale in selected Asian countries, which can be used to disinfect homes.

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Katherine Clark