Ultraviolet targeting viruses in aged care

Geelong aged care facilities will participate in an ultraviolet light trial to help reduce COVID-19 and other airborne viruses.

The state government will invest $16.8 million in a study that assesses the effectiveness of germicidal ultraviolet light technology to neutralise particles of airborne viruses in a room.

Minister for Ageing Ingrid Stitt said aged care services were home to some of the state’s oldest and most vulnerable, with the trial taking place in facilities across Geelong and Melbourne.

“This study could help us deliver more innovative and effective methods of keeping residents, staff and visitors free from illness,” she said.

“It is about new ways of reducing illness in our aged care facilities, reducing infections and improving the pressure placed on aged care and hospital workforces during peak COVID-19 and flu season.”

Ms Stitt said the trial included shining an invisible ultraviolet light across the ceiling, which could lead to a wider rollout of the technology in other health settings if it was successful.

The study will look for a clear answer to whether the technology could improve the safety of aged care homes and protect the health of residents and staff during COVID-19 and flu peaks.

The trial will be the first time the technology is measured in a clinical study to determine if it reduces the burden and impact of airborne diseases.