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Ultraviolet Treatment Reduces SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load in Patients

Researchers from the USA evaluated the safety and efficacy profiles of ultraviolet-A light applied via an endotracheal tube to critically ill COVID-19 patients. The study findings revealed that specific and monitored application of UVA therapy is safe and highly effective in reducing endotracheal viral load and improving clinical outcomes of COVID-19 patients. In the study, five hospitalized critically ill COVID-19 patients were included.

All the patients were recently intubated endotracheally for mechanical ventilation. A UVA therapy device equipped with a multi-LED UVA light catheter was connected to the endotracheal tube to deliver UVA light to the patients. The endotracheal UVA therapy was administered for 20 minutes to all patients once daily for 5 consecutive days. Before the treatment, all patients received oxygen supplementation for 30 minutes. Upon completion of the UVA light therapy, a significant reduction in endotracheal viral load was observed in all patients.

Regarding secondary infection, no significant alteration in the endotracheal bacterial load was observed during UVA therapy. This indicates an added benefit of the therapy in preventing ventilation-related pneumonia.  A significant improvement in the WHO clinical severity score was observed on day 30 post-enrollment. Interestingly, a significant positive correlation was observed between the WHO clinical severity score and the reduction in viral load during the UVA therapy. No therapy-related adverse side-effects were observed in enrolled patients. No change in hemodynamic parameters and oxygen saturation levels was observed during the therapy. All patients except one survived. Only one patient died on day 17 post-enrollment due to hemorrhagic complications of anticoagulation during the administration of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

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