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Germ-zapping robots put to the test to combat hospital-acquired infections



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 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.
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 including C.difficile, vancomycin-resistant 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.


Michigan Medicine
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