For the past seven months, Steve Shuey has been working on a product that will help businesses, schools and medical facilities stay clean and safe during the pandemic. Shuey, the CEO and founder of Viraclean USA, a Grovetown lighting and electrical company, began seeing a need among local businesses after several customers told him they were running out of personal protective equipment at a fast rate. He decided to work on a solution and created the Virunator, a cleaning product that uses UVC lights to produce a very specific wavelength with an extensive and powerful range of germicidal UVC to kill germs and viruses, including the coronavirus. “I jumped right on this. I used all my experience on lighting. I’ve been around UVC lighting in hospital settings,” he said. “From February to about the second week of September, I worked 18 hours a day on this, nonstop.” In the past, ambulances that transported a COVID-19 patient had to take around an hour to disinfect the ambulance and put it back in service, he said. . With the Virunator, cleaning and disinfecting can be done in less than 30 minutes. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, UVC radiation has been shown to destroy the outer protein coating of the SARS-Coronavirus, which is a different virus from the current SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, it is believed by the FDA that UVC radiation could also be effective in deactivating SARS-CoV-2. The FDA warns that there is limited published data about the wavelength, dose and duration of UVC radiation needed to inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus. According to the FDA, UVC radiation can only inactivate a virus if it is directly exposed to the radiation. To keep people safe, Shuey installed a trigger that will shut off the machine if there is any movement. He’s developed Virunators for smaller and bigger rooms depending on the needs of each business, with the Virunator X priced $429 and the Virunator priced at $2,199. Shuey said he is trying to make it more affordable, but is having problems with shipping. He is offering the Virunator at a 50% discount to day cares and schools using it to protect children against the virus. He said he currently has thousands available and can produce about 512 a day. Since it was released, the demand for the Virunator has skyrocketed, Shuey said. “It’s nationally. As far west as Denver, up and down the East Coast. Now that schools are basically starting up north, I’m getting more and more requests,” Shuey said. “I’m trying to put a group of people together to work with me. It’s just kind of overwhelming.” The Salvation Army Kroc Center used the product to clean its facility, while other restaurants, schools and businesses have used it as well, he said. Shuey said his product can help businesses reopen faster and safer than before. “Instead of being shut down for three days, laying off employees, they can basically turn this on, quickly do it and be right back in business,” he said. “It doesn’t shut anybody down and enables them to stay open and enables them to make their customers feel more comfortable that they went the extra step providing this type of cleaning.”
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