A Texas-based company called Xenex produces germ-zapping robots that are used in at least 450 hospitals in the United States.
Xenex’s founder and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Mark Stibich has been appearing on the news in recent weeks, to discuss the machines in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. Stibich says that this device can kill coronaviruses and many other pathogens in a matter of minutes.
The robot uses pulses of high-intensity, high-energy ultraviolet (UV-C) as a disinfectant, which the company says kills 99.9 percent of dangerous viruses and bacteria in less than 5 minutes. The light can also split open bacterial cell walls to kill dangerous pathogens commonly found in hospitals.
Perry Zygband, manager of environmental services for Saint Peter’s University Hospital, one of the locations where the device is used, says that it works as a second layer of protection.
“This is a revolutionary system that provides a second layer of protection after a room is cleaned and sanitized. It’s a cool device—it looks like R2-D2 from Star Wars or the robot from Lost in Space,” Zygband told Business Wire.
Amy R. Gram, director of Infection Prevention at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, added that, “In infection prevention, our goal is to provide a clean, safe environment for our patients, their families and our employees. This latest technology provides an added level of protection in combating HAIs caused by pathogens such as Clostridium difficile and Staphylococcus aureus. By improving our disinfection practices with the implementation of the Xenex LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robot, we have added another strategy to further reduce our infection rates.”
The robots reportedly cost about $104,000 each, and while they are mostly sold to hospitals, the company says that they are also good for cruise ships, gyms and other locations where frequent deep cleaning is necessary.
A page on the company’s website referenced peer-reviewed studies which showed that numerous different hospitals reported a dramatic decrease in the spread of illnesses throughout their facilities.
Photos: Xenex / Facebook