Popular LGBTQ+ venue using UV light to zap airborne viruses

BOSTON — A popular LGBTQ+ venue in Boston is using new ultraviolet technology to clear the air of floating viruses.

The UV devices installed inside Club Café are designed to zap viruses, including COVID-19, from the ceiling down to the floor.

They’re most concentrated inside the club’s intimate Napoleon Room, which seats about 40 people for dinner, drinks and nightly cabaret performances.

An open mic night regular is the one who advocated for the new technology to club management.

Dr. Edward Nardell, who’s a professor at Harvard Medical School, arranged for the donation and installation of a total of 15 devices inside the establishment on the Back Bay-South End line.

“I was hoping we could do something that would bring things back to normal,” said Nardell. “I honestly think there’s no place safer than with this kind of system in place.”

Nardell has been studying UV light technology to inactivate airborne viruses for 40 years.

He was responsible for coordinating the installation of UV devices at the Pine Street Inn in the 1980s to reduce the spread of tuberculosis.

According to Nardell, those devices and other technology used since then only disinfect the air at ceiling level.

“There’s competing technologies that frankly don’t have the science behind them, but the average person doesn’t know that,” he told Boston 25 News.

The Harvard researcher said the new approach called Far UVC is proven to be safe and consistently effective.

“There’s a study published recently in England where you go from 100 percent down to less than 10 percent in minutes,” he explained. “It is actually disinfecting the air in and around people not just in the upper room.”

Nardell said the seven devices installed inside the Napoleon Room would have cost about $16,000 if it hadn’t been for the donations.

He hopes that Far UVC will eventually become more common and affordable technology to help protect people in indoor spaces.

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