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Ultraviolet light reduces growth of COVID-19: Study

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Ultraviolet light reduces growth of COVID-19

A recent study by scientists from University of Connecticut has revealed that the Ultra Violet (UV) light, in particular, is associated with decreased disease growth rate relative to other analyzed factors.

COVID-19 is causing widespread morbidity and mortality globally. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coro-navirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) responsible for this disease infected more than 17 million people by August 2020. The virus causing COVID-19 has spread rapidly worldwide andthreatens millions of lives. It remains unknown, as of April 2020, whether summer weather will reduce its spread, thereby alleviating strains on hospitals and providing time for vaccine development.

Early insights from laboratory studies and research on related viruses predicted that COVID-19 would decline with higher temperatures, humidity, and ultraviolet (UV) light.

Scientists from Connecticut examined the weekly rate of increase in the number of COVID-19 infections as a function of weather, while controlling for human population structure, in order to determine the effects of the abiotic environ-ment on the growth rate of infections. their selection of weather variables and the time frame within which we measured variation was based on thelimited, but rapidly expanding, experimental and observational research onthe survival and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus and human resistance tothe resultant COVID-19 disease.

Using current, fine-scaled weather data and global reports of infections, scientists develop a model that explains 36% of the variation in maximum COVID-19 growth rates based on weather and demography(17%) and country-specific effects (19%). UV light is most strongly associated with lower COVID-19 growth.

Projections suggest that, without intervention, COVID-19 will decrease temporarily duringsummer, rebound by autumn, and peak next winter. Validationbased on data from May and June 2020 confirms the generalityof the climate signal detected. However, uncertainty remains high and the probability of weekly doubling rates remains >20% throughout summer in the absence of social interventions. Consequently, aggressive interventions will likely be needed despite seasonal trends.

This study is published in PANAS.

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