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UCLA Researchers Find Cold Plasma Can Kill COVID-19 On Surfaces In 30 Seconds

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Cold atmospheric plasma has been found to disinfect surfaces contaminated with coronavirus in as little as 30 seconds, according to a study from UCLA engineers and scientists.

The study published this month in the journal of "Physics of Fluids" is the first time cold plasma has been shown to effectively and quickly disinfect common surfaces like plastic, metal, cardboard, basketball composite leather, football leather and baseball leather, according to UCLA's Samueli's School Of Engineering

"This is a really exciting result, showing the potential of cold atmospheric plasma as a safe and effective way to fight transmission of the virus by killing it on a wide range of surfaces," Richard Wirz, the study's leader and an engineering professor at UCLA, said in a statement.

Plasma is generally made by superheating and electrifying gases. Cold plasma has been shown to be effective in cancer treatment, wound healing and dental-instrument disinfection.

The cold plasma tested against SARS-CoV-2 was created by subjecting air and argon gas to a strong electric field across electrodes inside a spray jet built by a 3D printer, according to the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. The researchers then used the jet to spray surfaces laced with SARS-CoV-2 cultures, which then ionized the surrounding air, turning it into cold atmospheric plasma and killing most of the virus after 30 seconds.

The study determined the advantage in using plasma to kill SARS-CoV-2 is that it can be safely used on a variety of surfaces without damaging them. Cold plasma is also cheaper compared to standard chemical sanitizers.

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