Two New Disinfection Techniques May Revolutionize Hospital Room Cleaning



A new technology known as HINS-light decontaminates the air and exposed surfaces by bathing them in a narrow spectrum of visible-light wavelengths. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Strathclyde)




A pioneering lighting system that can kill hospital superbugs, including MRSA and C.1) ___, has been developed by researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. The technology decontaminates the air and exposed surfaces by bathing them in a narrow spectrum of visible-light wavelengths, known as HINS-light. Clinical trials at Glasgow Royal Infirmary have shown that the HINS-light Environmental Decontamination System provides significantly greater reductions of bacterial pathogens in the hospital environment than can be achieved by cleaning and disinfection alone, providing a huge step forward in hospitals’ ability to prevent the spread of 2) ___. According to the researchers, “The technology kills pathogens but is harmless to 3) ___ and staff, which means for the first time, hospitals can continuously disinfect wards and isolation rooms.


The system works by using a narrow spectrum of visible-light wavelengths to excite molecules contained within bacteria. This in turn produces highly reactive chemical species that are lethal to bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or 4) ___, and Clostridium difficile, known as C.diff. The clinical trials have shown that the technology can help prevent the environmental transmission of pathogens and thereby increase patient safety.


The technology uses HINS-light which has a violet hue, but the research team has used a combination of LED technologies to produce a warm white lighting system that can be used alongside normal hospital lighting. Decontamination methods involving gas sterilants or UV-light can be hazardous to staff and patients, while cleaning, disinfection and hand washing, although essential routine procedures, have limited effectiveness and problems with compliance. HINS-light is a safe treatment that can be easily automated to provide continuous disinfection of wards and other areas of the clinical environment. The pervasive nature of 5) ___ permits the treatment of air and all visible surfaces, regardless of accessibility, either through direct or reflected exposure to HINS-light within the treated environment.


The technology was developed in Strathclyde’s pioneering Robertson Trust Laboratory for Electronic Sterilization Technologies (ROLEST), which is dedicated to controlling infection in today’s healthcare environments.


“This is the future, because many hospital 6) ___ are preventable with better cleaning methods,” says Dick Zoutman, who is also Quinte Health Care’s new Chief of Staff. “It has been reported that more than 100,000 people in North America die every year due to hospital acquired infections at a cost of $30 billion. That’s 100,000 people every year who are dying from largely preventable infections.” Dr. Zoutman has also used this disinfection technology to kill bed 7) ___. A major U.S. hotel chain has already expressed interest in the technology because of its potential to save the company millions of dollars in lost revenue and infected furniture.


Dr. Zoutman worked in collaboration with Dr. Michael Shannon of Medizone International at laboratories located in Innovation Park, Queen’s University. Medizone is commercializing the technology and the first deliveries are scheduled for the first quarter of 2012. The new technology involves pumping a Medizone-specific ozone and hydrogen 8) ___ vapor gas mixture into a room to completely sterilize everything – including floors, walls, drapes, mattresses, chairs and other surfaces. It is far more effective in killing bacteria than wiping down a room. Dr. Zoutman says the technique is similar to what we now know Mother Nature uses to kill 9) ___ in humans. When an antibody attacks a germ, it generates ozone and a minute amount of hydrogen peroxide producing a new highly reactive compound that is profoundly lethal against bacteria, viruses and mold.


“It works well for Mother Nature and is working very well for us,” says Dr. Zoutman.


There are other disinfecting technologies that involve pumping gas into a room, but Medizone’s method is the only one that sterilizes as well as surgical instrument cleaning. It also leaves a pleasant smell and doesn’t affect any medical equipment in the room. The entire disinfection process is also faster than other methods — it takes less than one hour. Dr. Zoutman says the technology could also be used in food preparation areas and processing plants after outbreaks such as listeria and to 10) ___ cruise ships after an infection outbreak.  Study results on the process are published in the December issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.


ANSWERS: 1) difficile; 2) infection; 3) patients; 4) MRSA; 5) light; 6) deaths; 7) bugs; 8) peroxide; 9) bacteria; 10) disinfect


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.