Superbugs are healthcare associated infections and are a common and deadly problem worldwide. These are infections acquired and afflicting 1 out of 20 patients in the USA while receiving treatment for any other condition. Patients who are admitted to hospitals for treatment of any other disease can acquire these superbugs and the infection can be fatal. The fatalities due to these infections surpass those caused by breast cancer and even AIDS! The deaths caused by superbugs are on the rise. Children and old people are more at risk of fatalities than others because of their weak immune system.
Although hospitals employ many infection prevention measures and disinfecting procedures are carried out thoroughly, these infections still occur and cost approximately $40 billion annually. In order to reduce the risk of infection, a new robot has been employed to kill these infection causing superbugs that are otherwise resistant to mainstream antibiotics and common disinfectants are not as effective in killing them either.
Xenex, the robot that emits pulsed ultraviolet (UV) light, is at work in several hospitals at the moment and is in its testing stage. It has proven to reduce bacterial contamination in hospital rooms by 95 percent leading to a decrease in infections acquired in hospitals by almost half.
How the Robot Works
Xenex is a cylindrical robot with a dome-like cover on top and is about 3 feet tall. When the robot is switched on for work, the UV light emitting part comes out from under the dome shaped cover. Once completely in position, it guides the user to leave the room. It then starts pulsing out UV light in the room, killing bacteria.
The UV light penetrates through the cell walls of bacteria and viruses and damages their DNA thus killing them or preventing them from reproducing. Superbugs like Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile (C. diff), and enterococci (VRE) are all affected during the process and are either killed or stopped from reproducing. All these superbugs are resistant to traditional antibiotic treatments.
Since UV light is reflected off flat surfaces, it reaches every nook and cranny of the room and kills bacteria. Any room where this robot is supposed to be used is first scrubbed and cleaned with a traditional disinfectant. After that, the Xenex robot is used to complete the process. All drawers, cupboards, and doors inside the room are opened in order to let the UV light reach everywhere.
It kills bacteria everywhere in the room including on the bed, bed linen, tables, towels or any other items lying inside the room. It is an all-rounder machine whose effect reaches where traditional methods miss out and fail to become the cause of patient infections.
It simply zaps all superbugs no matter where in the room they might be lurking! Depending on the size of the room, the machine can take an hour or a few minutes. Since the light is too intense, no humans should be inside the room while it is at work. It can be used anywhere in the hospital such as patient rooms, bathrooms, operation theatres and intensive care units. This superbug busting machine saves a lot of time and money spent every day in disinfection procedures in hospitals.
The Xenex robot and others like it are a game changer in the war against superbugs when almost all antibiotics have failed and infections and deaths are on the rise.