Xenex Germ-Zapping Robot Destroys Ebola Virus, Anthrax Spores in New Study


The Ebola outbreak demonstrated that deadly pathogens can and do cross borders, creating challenges of preparedness for hospitals and healthcare workers. It is critical that healthcare facilities have tools at their disposal that can help combat high risk pathogens. And while the risk of a patient contracting Ebola at a U.S. hospital is low, hundreds of people die every day from healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) from microorganisms that are rampant in healthcare facilities, such as Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Xenex Germ-Zapping Robots™ have been credited for helping healthcare facilities in the U.S. decrease their MRSA, C. diff and surgical site infection rates by more than 50 percent, 70 percent and 100 percent respectively, according to peer-reviewed published studies.

To validate how the Xenex Germ-Zapping Robot™ can be used for the decontamination of facilities, vehicles and equipment affected by a natural or intentional outbreak, Xenex Disinfection Services recently tested its Full-Spectrum™ pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV) disinfection device against live (not surrogate) Ebola virus and Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) spores in collaboration with the biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) containment laboratory at Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

The study validates the efficacy of pulsed xenon UV light disinfection technology on two of the world’s deadliest pathogens. In Texas Biomed’s BSL-4 lab, the Xenex robot easily destroyed both Ebola and anthrax spores on surfaces, achieving a greater than four-log reduction of Ebola in one minute and a greater than three-log reduction in anthrax spores in 15 minutes. In none of the time/distance combinations was either anthrax or Ebola detected after the Xenex device was utilized.

“Xenex is an evidence-based company and this testing further validates that the Xenex Germ-Zapping Robot™ can be a critically important ally in the battle to stop the spread of high risk pathogens, especially as antibiotic resistance continues to mount,” says Mark Stibich, PhD, chief scientific officer at Xenex. “Thousands of people around the world die every day from an infection they acquired during their hospital stay, and we’ve proven repeatedly that these infection rates can be significantly reduced. Much more can and should be done to protect patients and healthcare workers from the threat of emerging infectious diseases and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and our pulsed xenon UV technology has proven to be an effective tool in the infection prevention battle because we destroy pathogens on surfaces before they pose a threat to humans.”

Many healthcare facilities, including three Department of Defense facilities, have incorporated Xenex robots into their disease containment plans, disaster preparedness, and risk mitigation strategies. Designed for speed, effectiveness and ease of use, hospital cleaning staff operate the robot without disrupting hospital operations. The robot pulses intense UV light covering the entire UV spectrum, destroying viruses, bacteria and bacterial spores in a five-minute disinfection cycle. Without contact or chemicals, the robot destroys harmful microorganisms safely and effectively. The robot can disinfect 30-62 hospital rooms per day (according to Xenex customers), including: patient rooms, operating rooms, equipment rooms, emergency rooms, intensive care units and public areas. More than 300 hospitals, Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, skilled nursing facilities, ambulatory surgery centers and long-term acute care facilities in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Africa use Xenex robots.

Designed for maximum containment, BSL-4 labs offer a safe environment for scientists to study deadly pathogens for which there are no known treatments or vaccines. Texas Biomed is home to one of only six BSL-4 labs in North America and has both the expertise and resources to test against pathogens for which there is no known cure or vaccine.

Source: Xenex Disinfection Services

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Cleaning and sanitizing surfaces in hospitals  (Adobe Stock 339297096 by Melinda Nagy)
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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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