NEW YORK, (WLNS) -We know the risk of COVID-19 transmission is much less outside, now researchers are testing new technology that could make indoor air as safe as outdoors. Researchers at Columbia University are trying out a new kind of ultraviolet light called far-UVC light.

Dr. David Brenner says unlike the UV light currently used to sterilize hospital rooms and equipment when people are not around, these lamps use a different wavelength that is not known to be harmful to people.

“This far-UVC light really can’t penetrate into our skin or into eyes,” said Dr. Brenner.

Dr. Brenner co-authored new research showing far-UVC light took less than five minutes to kill 98% of indoor airborne microbes, which means it could possibly reduce the transmission of diseases such as flu and COVID.

“We know there are going to be new variants that haven’t reached us yet, the nice thing about far-UVC is it should be effective against every type of virus,” said Dr. Brenner.

The lamps can be installed on the ceiling and they cost about $200 each. Dr. Brenner says we could one day see these in hospitals, schools and on planes.

“Where are we transmitting COVID/influenza? It’s almost entirely indoors because you have so much ventilation outdoors. I think what we have achieved with far-UVC is the equivalent of stepping outside,” said Dr. Brenner.

Dr. Steven Erde is excited the research is being tested at a dental clinic since many microbes in the mouth can get into the air.

“This is a great opportunity to decrease that load so that when the patients are here, the providers are safer and other patients in the same facility are safer,” said Dr. Erde.