Sunday, March 19, 2017

New Robot Destroys Pathogens with Light

Engineers and scientists have teamed up to develop the R-D Rapid Disinfector robot that works with standard sanitization methods to more effectively eliminate pathogens and iatrogenic transmission of infection, including viruses. Thompson Hospital and the M.M. Ewing Continuing Care Center have begun using this automated disinfecting machine throughout the institutions to help reduce the risks of illness and infections for patients, residents, visitors and staff.  The Disinfector uses short-wave ultraviolet-C (UV-C) light as a germicidal to destroy viruses, bacteria and other pathogens that can linger on surfaces and hide in shadows. This machine can disinfect an average-sized patient room in about 8 minutes and is deployed after a room is sanitized with standard techniques. It is remotely controlled by an associate from Environmental Services.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 5 percent and 10 percent of all patients admitted to a hospital acquire an infection while in that hospital, and cites nursing home infection rates at almost 20 percent annually. Healthcare-acquired infections can cause pain, suffering and even death to patients and could cost hospitals up to $111,000 or more for each case.  This state-of-the-art robot monitors the entire disinfection process. Wireless sensors measure, record and report on UV-C light dosages delivered to specific areas in real time. The machine can be paused and repositioned to maximize efficiency, including targeting shadowed areas.  This technology may work to help lower the transmissibility of viral pathogens in the health care setting, and generally improve the quality of medicine.

-Ethan Wentworth

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