Robot Uses UV Light to Kill Hospital Superbugs

April 24, 2015

New technology could reduce risk of hospital-acquired infections.

Looking to reduce the threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs in hospitals, researchers from the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine have shown that a robot using UV light can help to kill more germs than traditional cleaning methods alone.

Surfaces such as call buttons and bedrails in hospital rooms can be a reservoir for bacteria. The average hospital sees 10-20 cases of hospital-acquired infections from difficult-to-treat pathogens such as MRSA, which can be deadly.

Two studies have been performed to verify the performance of the new device, with the first measuring results of only using manual disinfection compared to adding UV light disinfection as well. The combination of manual and UV light disinfection was shown to kill over 90% of bacteria, while manual disinfection alone only killed 70%. The second study examined the effectiveness of solely relying on UV light disinfection and found that it performed similarly to manual disinfection – killing over 70% of the bacteria, though the researchers note that the device is not designed as a stand-alone and is recommended to be used in concert with standard cleaning techniques. 

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