[COVID-19 Fact Check] Can masks be reused after UV ray disinfection? / YTN

[Anchor]
We are here with a COVID-19 fact check.

The government stated that masks can be reused when dried properly,

but that they should not be disinfected in a laundry machine or microwave.

An alternative UV ray disinfectant has appeared online recently.

We have checked whether or not this is a proper alternative.

Here’s Reporter Lee Jeong-mi.

[Reporter]
A new portable disinfectant has broken onto the scene.

It uses UV rays to disinfect masks as if you were drying them under sunlight.

▲ Can UV rays kill a virus?

It is true that UV rays kill viruses.

In 2003, research results showed that when SARS was exposed to UV rays for 60 minutes, it no longer had any infectious potential.

In microbiology research centers, experiment equipment is disinfected with UV rays.

However, for UV rays to kill a virus, the rays must be in direct contact with all parts of the virus.

[Lee Geun-hwa / Hanyang University College of Medicine, Professor of Microbiology : UV rays cannot penetrate the filter inside of a mask. It is safe to assume that UV rays do not fully disinfect masks.]

▲ Does this affect the filter?

This is a thesis that was presented in 2009.

It states a mask put in the microwave loses its filtering properties, but a mask exposed to UV rays retains its filtering properties.

However, it also states there are no conclusive results on its effects on the human body, and that additional research must be done.

[Lee Dong-hun / Internal Medicine Doctor (Appeared on YTN on the 3rd March) : UV ray disinfectants are effective. Reports say that you can reuse masks after that, but I personally would not recommend that you do so.]

▲ Does it verifiably kill a virus?

This UV ray disinfectant is a certified disinfectant.

Its test reports had surfaced online.

But the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science conducts tests with bacteria, which are larger than viruses.

[Korea Standard Testing, Researcher : We do not test with viruses. Our tests refer to bacteria such as colon bacillus. Virus particles are smaller than bacteria particles.]

If masks are difficult to obtain and must be reused, UV ray disinfectants could be a possible alternative.

However, its lack of verification as a virus disinfectant must be considered.

This has been Lee Jeong-mi of YTN.