Germ-Zapping Robots Put to the Test in Detroit Hospitals


A research team led by Keith S. Kaye, MD, MPH, director of clinical research in the Michigan Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases, will put germ-zapping robots to the test at Detroit hospitals. Michigan researchers will look at the ability of high intensity ultraviolet light delivered by Xenex Germ-Zapping Robots to protect patients from deadly superbugs, such as Clostridium difficile, found on surfaces.

Patients across the country are vulnerable to hospital-acquired infections – infections they can get while staying at a medical facility. Significant progress has been made in preventing some infection types, but they continue to be a major threat nationwide.

Kaye will work with colleagues at Wayne State University and the Detroit Medical Center to conduct the study in two hospitals covering 16 total hospital units at the DMC.

At the end of two years, researchers will report on rates of hospital-acquired infections in units where pulsed xenon UV light (PX-UV) was added to cleaning routines compared to units where a sham UV disinfection system was added to standard cleaning.

They’ll measure if cleaning plus PX-UV reduced the number of infections from drug-resistant organisms that cause C. diff,  vancomycinresistant enterococci (VRE), Klebsiella pneumonia, Escherichiae coli producing extended-spectrum betalactamases (ESBLs), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Acinetobacter baumannii.

Hospital cleanliness is recognized as a critically important process to help prevent hospital-acquired infections. It involves extensive cleaning and disinfection after a patient has been discharged and before the next patient has been admitted to the room.

PX-UV lamps in the robot produce a flash of germicidal light in millisecond pulses, damaging the cell structure and stopping the DNA repair mechanisms for most pathogens

The unique design of the study, which is double-blinded and sham-controlled, makes it the first to examine the clinical impact of adding PX-UV to hospital cleaning routines.

Kaye is a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan. Before joining the faculty at Michigan Medicine, he was professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Department of Medicine at Wayne State University and DMC.

Source: Xenex Disinfection Services

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Cleaning and sanitizing surfaces in hospitals  (Adobe Stock 339297096 by Melinda Nagy)
Set of white bottles with cleaning liquids on the white background. (Adobe Stock 6338071172112 by zolnierek)
Association for the Health Care Environment (Logo used with permission)
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Photo of a model operating room. (Photo courtesy of Indigo-Clean and Kenall Manufacturing)
Mona Shah, MPH, CIC, FAPIC, Construction infection preventionist  (Photo courtesy of Mona Shah)
UV-C Robots by OhmniLabs.  (Photo from OhmniLabs website.)
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