Continuous Environmental Disinfection Using Visible Light
Thursday, March 02, 2017: 2:15 PM - 2:45 PM
LED's have enabled new in applications in medicine due to their improvements in output and wavelength tolerance. A particularly novel application in which these advancements are critical is the field of infection prevention where visible light can be used to continuously disinfect the environment while people are in the room thereby potentially reducing the risk of a Healthcare Acquired Infection (HAI). The disinfection process is accomplished by creating germicidal reactive oxygen species (ROS) within the bacteria via photo-excitation of intra-cellular porphyrin molecules. This ROS has an identical effect upon the organism as that of common, chemical bleach. However, it has the added advantage of being automatically created directly within the organism as the light is shined upon it. Because it uses safe, 405nm light, this method of disinfection can be operated continuously while people are in the room. By way of comparison, existing methods using UV light and/or chemical sprays are episodic in nature, require labor to operate, and take the room out of service while being used. These conditions impose sharp, operational constraints for today's hospitals which are tasked with providing better care, more frequently, and a lower cost. Visible light disinfection is intended to be used as a supplement to standard cleaning efforts in areas that are difficult to keep continuously clean and where the risk of infection is a concern such as Operating Rooms, Sterile Processing, Waiting Areas, and Patient Rooms. This technology was invented by the University of Strathclyde and has been the subject of numerous scientific publications and evaluations. The technology has now been commercialized with recent evaluations showing that up to an 80% continuous reduction of bacteria over and above normal cleaning methods is possible. Based on these successes, multiple institutions have moved to install the technology in actual operating and patient rooms.