In the current situation caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19), the need for disinfection of surfaces and enclosed spaces to prevent the spread of the virus has become increasingly important, especially in workplaces and work areas where one stays for long periods of time and the risk of contagion can be high due to the influx of people, although the need is also important in the domestic environment.
Among the many forms of disinfection currently in use, one of the most popular and most talked about is the use of ozone.
What is ozone?
Ozone (O3) is a gas made up of 3 oxygen atoms, it stands out for its great oxidising capacity, which is why it is a highly biocidal compound, in other words, it is very effective against viruses and bacteria, destroying their particles by oxidising them. Ozone is considered by the WHO as one of the most powerful disinfectants to combat all types of microorganisms, being 10 times more powerful than chlorine (another more popular and widely used disinfectant).
In the industrial field, it is used to treat wastewater and for the disinfection of agricultural products, eliminating possible harmful microorganisms. Ozone is also used in the domestic environment as a deodoriser of spaces and objects, as well as a disinfectant for water and food.
Is ozone effective against Coronavirus?
It has been shown to kill 99% of group IV pathogens, which also includes coronaviruses.
The effectiveness of ozone against coronaviruses and other pathogens lies in the ability of the gas to penetrate cell membranes. Coronaviruses have a membrane that makes them very sensitive to disinfectants. The existence of a type of amino acid within this membrane adds another weakness, as it makes it vulnerable to oxidation, so that in the event of oxidation, the virus loses an essential element for clinging to and penetrating an organism’s cells, reducing its chances of survival to a minimum.
Use of ozone
Ozone is applicable, according to European regulations, to disinfect surfaces, equipment, walls, floors in both public and private spaces, furniture, ventilation systems and industrial or work areas. As it is a gas, it is able to reach all areas and recesses where other disinfectants (such as those applied with wipes) cannot reach.
To disinfect with ozone, it is necessary to generate it artificially by means of an ozone generator, which produces ozone through the oxygen molecules present in the air, producing a high electrical voltage that forces the separation and regrouping of the oxygen atoms into 3.
It is recommended to take certain precautions when using it, such as ventilation prior to disinfection, avoiding prolonged exposure and keeping ignition devices or flammable substances away.
We stress the importance of prior ventilation of the space or surface, naturally with fresh air. Subsequently, the device can be programmed and disinfection can be started, avoiding the presence of people in the area for the duration of the disinfection process.
About 20 seconds would be enough to eliminate the virus, but for greater effectiveness it is recommended that the disinfection lasts between 3 and 5 minutes. After 5-10 minutes of disinfection, it is recommended to ventilate the space again, after which the space can be used normally again. For more information on this, consult the characteristics of the generator used.
Curiosities about ozone:
Ozone therapy: Apart from its properties as a disinfectant, ozone also has applications in medicine, with the so-called “ozone therapy”, a medicinal treatment used to treat injuries caused by sporting activities.
It has also been shown to be effective in treating hernias, urinary tract infections, prostatitis and arthrosis, thanks to its properties which include improved bone calcification, improved blood circulation, better oxygenation, reduced cholesterol, improved defences and tissue regeneration.
Cosmetics: ozone also has cosmetic applications, ozone cosmetic solutions have antioxidant and regenerative capabilities for the skin, and is also used to treat skin diseases.