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Decontamination Robot Sanitizes Rooms in Five Minutes

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 24 Mar 2020
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Image: The LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robot (Photo courtesy of Xenex)
Image: The LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robot (Photo courtesy of Xenex)
A new germ-zapping robot emits broad-spectrum ultraviolet (UV) light that disrupts the cell walls of microorganisms and causes irreparable damage.

The Xenex (San Antonio, TX, USA) LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robot uses a bulb filled with xenon gas to create intense germicidal UV light with an extensive range that includes both UV-B (280-315nm) and UV-C (200-280nm), and at an intensity thousands of times higher than mercury bulbs. The continuous UV light reduces microbial load in as little as five minutes, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), and other organisms. The robot has also been shown to reduce surgical site infection (SSI) rates.

Features include an impact resistant shell and four castors for portability; a telescopic mechanism to raise the xenon-filled bulb from its protective casing before use; a triple sensor motion detection cone to identify people are in the room, enhancing patient and staff safety; a simple user interface with auto-updating software for new features; cloud-based reporting over cellular or Wi-Fi networks; and extreme durability and reliability. After use, the room will remain disinfected until new pathogens enter the room from a visitor, patient, care provider, or the air handling system.

“A mercury light bulb is about the average intensity of a fluorescent light. Ours is 400 to 1,400 times more intense, depending on where the disinfecting spectrum is. The answer is, intensity makes all the difference,” said Morris Miller, CEO of Xenex. “It’s the difference between a hose and a power washer. A hose will put out a lot more water; but a power washer, at 18,000 pounds per square inch, will clean your sidewalk in the way that a hose won’t.”

Increasing evidence confirms that Clostridium difficile, MRSA, VRE, Acinetobacter baumannii, and influenza are transmitted via environmental surfaces, and that only 50% of environmental surfaces in a typical operating room or patient room may be effectively disinfected. The current patient’s risk of contracting a hospital acquired infection (HAI) from contaminated surfaces increases 100% when the previous room occupant had been diagnosed with an infection.

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