SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 16 — Boeing announced on Tuesday that it worked with the University of Arizona of United States to put an age-old technique, thermal disinfection, in the fight against COVID-19.

Researchers validated that applying heat to surfaces, especially on hard-to-clean flight deck equipment, effectively eliminates SARS-CoV-2, reports Xinhua news agency quoted the announcement.

Results indicate that the virus can be destroyed by more than 99.99 per cent after three hours exposure to temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit) and can still be effectively killed by more than 99.9 per cent at 40-degree Celsius temperatures (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

“Passenger and crew safety are our top priorities – that extends from the cabin to the flight deck,” said Michael Delaney, who leads Boeing’s Confident Travel Initiative (CTI) efforts.

“Thermal disinfection could deliver another valuable tool to destroy COVID-19 on sensitive and difficult-to-reach components that protect pilots.”

Boeing completed the testing which was conducted in a protected laboratory environment at the university using flight deck parts and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, this fall.

“We’re basically cooking the virus,” said Charles Gerba, University of Arizona microbiologist and infectious disease expert. “Thermal disinfection is one of the oldest ways to kill disease-causing micro-organisms. It’s used by microbiologists in our laboratory every day.”

The flight deck is designed to withstand temperatures up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (about 70 degrees Celsius), which makes thermal disinfection a safe, practical and effective sanitisation method, Boeing said.


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