– In the design office of our company, an LED ultraviolet lamp has been created that destroys coronavirus, as well as all strains of influenza, pathogens of measles, smallpox, Koch’s bacillus (causes tuberculosis), mold and fungi, – He speaks businessman, retired lieutenant general Andrey Yurchenko from the Dnieper. – A very important feature of our lamps is that their radiation does not harm humans. People can safely be indoors when these UV sources are on. They kill the coronavirus instantly. Imagine a person infected with covid enters a room or a tram. With breath, it releases pathogens, but the ultraviolet radiation of our installation immediately destroys the coronavirus that has entered the air.
We completed tests of this model of air disinfectants on May 25, but did not advertise it – we were waiting for the results of independent examinations and certification. To date, a European Union quality certificate has been received, a patent has been issued, and a test has been successfully passed in the USA – at Boston and Columbia Universities, as well as at seven Ukrainian institutes. Information about our development is leaking out, so high-ranking officials and businessmen from several countries have already contacted us. So, the Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey called me (we talked with him through an interpreter) with a proposal to start deliveries for Turkish hotels. There were also proposals from the representatives of Georgia and Kuwait. I answer to foreigners: “We will cooperate, but first I will meet the needs of Ukraine.”
“If ultraviolet light kills germs and viruses in water, why not use it to disinfect the air from covid?”
– Actually, our company has been producing conventional LED lamps for 12 years, which consume much less electricity than incandescent bulbs, – continues Andrey Yurchenko. – There are two similar enterprises in Ukraine – in Kiev and Kharkov. Ours is distinguished by the fact that we have our own design bureau, in which I gathered cool specialists with academic degrees.
– How did it happen that you got involved in the fight against coronavirus infection?
– So I am leading to the answer to this question. Seven years ago, our design office created a technology for water disinfection using ultraviolet radiation, we received a patent for it. When the coronavirus pandemic began at the beginning of this year, we reasoned like this: since ultraviolet light effectively destroys microbes and viruses in water, why not use this property to disinfect air and things from covid?
For several months, together with a professor from South Korea and our Chinese partners, we created an LED ultraviolet lamp that effectively disinfects premises, including those against coronaviruses. But this development had a significant drawback: the frequency of radiation that it generates (254 nanometers) is dangerous to the eyes and skin of humans. Therefore, the use of these products is limited – they can only be turned on when there is no one in the room. This did not suit us, and we continued our search, which was crowned with success. Scientists of our design bureau have come up with (and independently, without the participation of foreign colleagues) how to make an ultraviolet lamp completely harmless to people. For example, in my office this device works from morning to evening – I turn it off only at night.
– What is the essence of know-how?
– In innovative diodes. We made them from a rare earth element. Which one, I cannot say – a commercial secret. Plus, they used a different wavelength than in the previous model. By the way, about the first model. Not only we, but also our Chinese partners have the rights to it. Russian Defense Minister Shoigu addressed them through the Russian embassy in Beijing.
– What did he want from them?
– The Russians somehow found out about this development and decided to order a certain amount. The Chinese sold them. I know that these products have been installed in all Russian military hospitals where servicemen are treated with coronavirus infection. And also in metro cars and suburban trains in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But that’s not all. Our Chinese partners have sold the same lamps in the United States, where they are used, as in Russia, to kill viruses and bacteria in public transport.
It is clear that these disinfectants are included only when there are no passengers in metro cars, buses and trams, and there are patients in the wards. But the second-generation ultraviolet lamps, which we created ourselves, can work in the presence of people without causing them any harm, while instantly destroying the coronavirus. More precisely: for a certain time, the lamp disinfects the room or the interior of the vehicle, and then destroys viruses and bacteria every second, if there is a person in the room infected with covid and secreting its pathogens.
The luminaire has another valuable property to help prevent COVID-19 disease. Studies have shown that ultraviolet radiation of the same length that our lamp emits causes the production of vitamin D in the human body. This vitamin helps prevent covid disease.
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– How long does it take to pre-disinfect a room or, say, a subway car?
– No more than half an hour. In many cases, much less time.
– Can your company provide Ukraine with a large number of ultraviolet devices for combating covid in a short time?
– I think yes. After all, we have a production facility in Ukraine and an assembly line in China. At the capacities at which we assemble conventional LED lamps, UV can be produced. By the way, about our assembly line in China. We have taken measures to prevent secret diodes and their documentation from falling into the hands of potential competitors from this country. After all, everyone knows the tendency of some Chinese businessmen, to put it mildly, to borrow other people’s technical developments. Therefore, we placed an order for the manufacture of our diodes in another part of the Celestial Empire at a security research institute. However, we do not tell the staff of this institute where we will use the innovative diodes. These components are as tiny as tiny diamonds. To pick them up from the research institute, we send our representative there, who then delivers them in a special case to the assembly plant. Strict accounting is organized there – the head of the section issues secret diodes one by one.
On October 6, our ultraviolet lamps were reported at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. We will find out what this will give in the near future. It is important that the first contracts have already been signed. After studying the results of the examinations and consultations with the Kiev scientists who did them, the mayor of the 900-thousandth Krivoy Rog Yuriy Vilkul gave at the meeting (we attended it) an order to sign contracts with us for equipping all municipal transport of the city with ultraviolet lamps. And he added: “Through the Commission for Emergency Situations, we will oblige private carriers to do this.” In addition, we have signed the first 45 contracts to supply these devices to hospitals. The head physician of one of the Kharkov clinics said that after the quarantine began, the hospital premises had to be wet cleaned not twice a day, but six times. Because of this, costs jumped sharply – the purchase of a large amount of detergents and disinfectants, additional payments to staff. “I’ll install your UV lights and go back to my normal cleaning routine, morning and evening,” he told me.
“Our devices also drive away mosquitoes”
– How many of these lamps should be installed in the room?
– It depends on its area. If a small ward with two beds, then one device 60 centimeters long will suffice. A room for five or six people needs twice the lamp. It plugs into a standard 220 volt outlet. For the interiors of buses, trams, trolley buses, we have developed a model that works from a car cigarette lighter of 12 or 24 volts. Ultraviolet lamps for transport are miniature, 15 centimeters long – fit in the palm of your hand. Such a device is hung in the passenger compartment and is connected with a wire to the cigarette lighter in the driver’s cab.
– Scientists say that elevators are one of the places where the risk of coronavirus infection is increased. Are you ready to design UV lights for them?
– There is an old joke dating back to Soviet times: “Our people are hardy – they can endure everything.” This I mean that disinfectants for elevators must be vandal-proof. Their creation is in our immediate plans.
By the way, we made compact individual UV lamps in the form of a keychain. I already go with this. It cleans the air in a radius of one meter around. We do not offer them to consumers yet for the reason that they run on batteries. And with constant use of the device, you need to change it every two days. This battery (it looks like a tablet) costs 60 hryvnia. For many, it will be too expensive to allocate such an amount for a battery every two days. Therefore, we decided to modify individual disinfectants so that batteries would be a power source for them – just like in mobile phones.
– Do your ultraviolet lamps disinfect and illuminate the room at the same time?
– No. The main ones (the very secret diodes that destroy viruses and bacteria) do not emit light visible to humans at all, so it is impossible to visually determine whether they work or not. Viruses and microorganisms that have died under their influence have a noticeable unpleasant odor. To eliminate it, we equip the luminaire with a different type of diode. Here they emit a bright purple glow. But, of course, they cannot illuminate the room. By the way, additional diodes not only clean the air from the bad smell of “viral and bacterial debris”, but also drive away mosquitoes. For example, in an ultraviolet lamp 1.2 meters long, we install 20 main diodes and four additional ones.
– Since secret diodes are made from rare earth elements, then the cost of ultraviolet lamps is probably high?
– Yes, not small. But it is 10 times lower than that of Japanese ultraviolet lamps, which they recently announced. We are talking about devices with a wavelength of 222 nanometers safe for humans. But we created a lamp with exactly the same wavelength back in February and came to the conclusion that it is not suitable – it is too low-power, it disinfects the space only within a radius of one meter. The Japanese are asking $ 2860 for a similar device.
– You are a military man. Is your military specialty related to scientific research?
– I served in the competent authorities, during the Soviet years I worked in the department of the USSR Prosecutor General’s Office for supervision of the defense nuclear industry. I have participated in many projects over the years of service, which I have no right to talk about. I have two wounds, an invalid of the Armed Forces of the 2nd group. When he retired, he went into business. At first, he was a construction company, and then he also organized the production of LED lamps with a design bureau attached to him. The professor, who headed the KB for many years, was lured away by the Russians a little over a year ago. I left for their Silicon Valley, the Skolkovo innovation center (located in Moscow). They gave me a chair, an apartment and a very high salary. Two scientists remained in the KB: Sergey Valentinovich Skulov and Victor Nikolaevich Post. They have created a unique LED lamp that destroys the coronavirus without harming human health.
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