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  • Writer's pictureAlex Turner

UV-C Disinfection on the Rise in Healthcare

Until recently, the idea of robots gliding down hospital corridors might have sounded like a pipedream. Now, it is a reality, as healthcare facilities have started to see the benefits of embracing UV-C disinfection techniques.

Robots are now capable of following pre-planned routes in environments such as hospitals, using UV-C light beams to destroy pathogens in their path, helping minimise the risk of infections spreading. University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland has benefited from such innovations. In this article, we will answer the following questions: how can disinfection robots help your hospital make its wards safer and what risks must be mitigated today?

An age-old problem

The fight against harmful pathogens has been raging since the dawn of life on Earth. Hospitals should be a haven where the sick can go to be healed or to recuperate from various illnesses and other afflictions. However, in recent decades, the phenomenon of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) has raised awareness of the risk of contracting various diseases when entering into healthcare facilities.

In 2011, 6.4 per cent of inpatients at acute care hospitals in the UK were recorded as having contracted an HAI. One of the most common types of illnesses contracted in these environments was pneumonia and other respiratory infections, as well as urinary tract and surgical site infections. Mercifully, this means the majority of patients can enjoy a safe experience during a spell in hospital. Even so, there reasons to be cautious, even despite the best efforts taken to maintain good hygiene in this environment.

In the 2000s, concerns were raised in the UK about the risk of hospitalised individuals being infected with hospital-acquired superbugs such as C. difficile and MRSA, which could prove fatal to those with compromised immune systems. What makes such infections so dangerous is the resistance they display to antibiotics, meaning some cases can prove fatal.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, infections can pose great risks particularly to those with weaker immune systems, putting pressure on the health service. Even after over a year of mask-wearing, handwashing and social distancing, diseases such as COVID-19 can persist, and if left unchecked, continue to make the lives of many a misery.

A cleaner place to work

Thankfully, in more recent years, recorded cases of MRSA have been relatively low. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the roll-out of vaccines and other behaviours have kept hospitalisations lower than during the previous waves. Even so, one case is still a case too many.

As mentioned, University Hospital Zurich has seen the benefits of using disinfection technology to sanitise its facilities, taking mitigation strategies that bit further than regular cleaning practices, which can still leave pathogens unchecked.

UV-C light is an effective form of defence against a vast number of bacteria and viruses, as concentrated bursts of it damage the DNA and RNA within bacterial cells and virions. The damage sustained by bacteria and viruses due to UV-C exposure means their genetic material is compromised, reducing the risk of infections in the future.

Traditional methods of disinfection in hospitals include handwashing with soaps and alcohol, as well as the use of chemicals during deep cleans to stop viruses and bacteria from breeding on surfaces. However, even using such stringent methods, bugs can still persist, resistant to these more traditional methods. Disinfectants like UV-C light exposure offer an additional layer of security in healthcare facilities. Most encouragingly, UV-C light is especially effective where COVID-19 is concerned.

We recently published findings by Brunel University, confirming that UV light does indeed serve as an effective way of blocking the spread of COVID-19 right down to the genetic level. SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for causing COVID-19, was subjected to UV light during experiments, destroying the viral particles inside a specialised workspace named Pluto Pods.

Make your wards safer with Evolve Raybotix

At Evolve Raybotix, we are vastly experienced when it comes to using UV-C light as a form of disinfectant ourselves. Our range of robots, including NEO, EOS, SOL and the AIR MODULE are equipped to work using rays of UV-C light on the same wavelength as those in the Brunel University report. SOL, our largest model, operates autonomously, using AI to manoeuvre itself around obstacles.

The AIR MODULE is of especial interest to those operating healthcare facilities, as it can operate safely in the same room as patients and employees. A state-of-the-art piece of machinery, the AIR MODULE is even effective in the presence of air conditioning, meaning the air patients breathe is less likely to be loaded with floating viral particles which could infect them with diseases such as COVID-19.

To learn more about AIR MODULE, our range of UV-C disinfection robots or what we can do to help keep your business or facility safe, get in touch with us today. For queries about procuring specific robots, we strongly encourage you to call us on 0800 3688234 or fill in our enquiry form, so we can help respond to your enquiry as quickly as possible.

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