Finsen Tech: the role of ultraviolet light for infection prevention

Finsen Tech: the role of ultraviolet light for infection prevention

UVC specialist Finsen Tech showcases the role of ultraviolet light in preventing the spread of infection.

Finsen Tech is an international EPA-registered manufacturer and provider of UVC products and services, contributing to the prevention and reduction of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) by delivering scientifically proven, cost effective rapid high disinfection technologies. Finsen Tech produces the world leading Telescopic High Output Rapid UVC robot, THOR UVC®.

Our company credo states that we will design, develop, and manufacture safe products which excel in terminal disinfection performance reliability and are manufactured to the highest quality international standards. We will present these at an affordable price, to assist in the seamless implementation for our customers. This commitment extends to everything that we do, to bring our best to the people who use them. Finsen Tech boasts collective experience and expertise in the medical device and ultraviolet (UV) infection control and hospital sterilisation space spanning more than four decades; and was formed following extensive years of research and development into the most cost effective delivery systems of UVC disinfection application.

Background

Preventing and controlling infection is the cornerstone of great healthcare, yet nurses, doctors, clinicians, and hospital cleaning teams struggle to keep ahead with ever-mutating pathogens which are constantly adapting and adjusting to their environment.

Healthcare Associated infections can develop either as a direct result of healthcare interventions such as medical or surgical treatment, or from being in contact with a healthcare setting. The term HCAI covers a wide range of infections. The most well- known include those caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and Escherichia coli (E. coli), norovirus and more recently coronavirus (COVID-19). The term HAI covers any infection contracted:

  • As a direct result of treatment in, or contact with, a health or social care setting;
  • As a direct result of healthcare delivery in the community; and
  • As a result of an infection originally acquired outside a healthcare setting (for example, in the community) and brought into a healthcare setting by patients, staff or visitors.

Superbugs have evolved during a ‘post-antibiotic threshold’ in which bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites have mutated to become untreatable. Cleaning a ward or operating theatre to the extent required to eradicate them has become almost impossible. Traditional cleaning techniques kill just 50% of the bugs responsible for the healthcare-associated infections, which cause 30,000 deaths and cost the NHS a staggering £1bn each year – and this is for MRSA and C. diff alone. To give some perspective, the UK experiences approximately 1,800 road traffic deaths per annum; and 14,611 people died from gun homicides in the US in 2018.

THOR UVC uses shortwave ultraviolet light, which at 253.7 nanometres is proven to kill all known superbugs in just minutes. Pathogens such as C. diff, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), Candida Auris, Ebola, coronavirus, and norovirus will be denatured and destroyed.

What is UVC technology? How is it superior to other common disinfection methods?

Ultraviolet is a form of light, invisible to the human eye, which exists on the electromagnetic spectrum between X-rays and visible light. We are exposed to low levels of UV light from the sun’s rays every day, although much of the UV energy is absorbed by the ozone layer.

UVC wavelengths are between 200 and 300 nanometres, making them germicidal, meaning they are capable of inactivating microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. This quality makes UVC energy an effective, environmentally friendly, and chemical-free way to eradicate dangerous microorganisms in any environment, but especially in hospitals.

The high energy from short wavelength UVC light is absorbed in the cellular RNA and DNA, damaging nucleic acids, and preventing microorganisms from infecting and reproducing. This absorption of UVC energy forms new bonds between nucleotides, creating double bonds or “dimers.” Dimerisation of molecules, particularly thymine, is the most common type of damage incurred by UVC light in microorganisms. Formation of thymine dimers in the DNA of bacteria and viruses prevents replication and inability to infect.

UVC disinfection is clinically proven, easy to use and does not result in damage to the fabrication of the area or buildings being treated. This method uses no chemicals, reaches floor to ceiling and is suitable for even the smallest of spaces. It is also extremely portable, meaning it can be used in areas such as ambulances, sluice rooms, theatres, patient rooms, and ambulances. The technology has proven to be a success, eliminating HAI culprits including C. diff, MRSA, New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1 (NDM-1), Ebola and norovirus.

THOR UVC is the very latest high- powered disinfection robot, capable of destroying multidrug-resistant HAIs and persistent superbugs that linger in operating theatres, patient wards, and isolation rooms. It is unique; it has patented protected shadow busting technology which assists in delivering UVC light to darker, harder to reach areas. THOR UVC also has radar technology multiple sensors which maps its surroundings and immediately generates a report when a room disinfection is complete. Testing and evaluation of the THOR’s efficacy concluded that, irrespective of cleaning time and soiling levels, THOR UVC killed more than 99.9999% of MSSA and 99.9999% (log 6) of baumannii bacteria exposed to it.

THOR UVC generates more UVC power than older generation UV technologies: this unrivalled high output is critical in killing the new strains of superbugs. Its telescopic reach is significantly higher than its predecessors, obliterating pathogens from floor to ceiling while ensuring even those hiding in shadowed areas are not missed. The robot disinfects a 360° area, irrespective of obstacles and senses clutter and reduces shadows, delivering a peak germicidal dose to all areas.

Utilising THOR UVC means that the entire process is automated. There is no requirement for manual measurement, nor any manual calculation. The automation ensures that the process is completely validated and failsafe.

In addition, THOR UVC can be utilised anywhere a healthcare provider has deemed it necessary to fit a hand sanitiser station. This may not have been thought of in this context before due to the spatial limitations of vaporised hydrogen peroxide. Potential use cases include:

  • Ambulances;
  • Patient transport;
  • MRIs;
  • X-rays;
  • Physiotherapy facilities;
  • Theatre staff rooms;
  • Theatre changing rooms; and
  • Ward administration desks.

THOR UVC can be used in conjunction with existing cleaning regimes with zero impact on time for the cleaning staff; cycles can be run while the next room is being cleaned. It is flexible, adaptable, reliable, validated, proven, simple to use and easy to deploy.

How can UVC disinfection aid in the fight against the spread of COVID-19?

The global pandemic has challenged almost every country across the world. Economies have been halted, communities put into lockdown and the healthcare sector has never been put under more pressure than it has in recent months. Wherever there is any form of human interaction, the virus could still be present and therefore deep cleaning regimes need to be rigorous to prevent further spread of this deadly disease. Manual cleaning protocols have been refined and cleaning teams across the globe are working tirelessly to ensure the safety of themselves and the wider healthcare sector. Manual cleaning however can only assist with surface cleaning and this is where UVC technology comes into its own.

While it has been widely recognised for some time that coronavirus can be efficiently and effectively eradicated utilising UVC, it would have been incorrect for companies to suggest that their devices were efficient in killing COVID-19 without further testing. THOR UVC utilises 24 high output emitters supplied to us by Signify, part of the Philips Group of companies. Signify, in conjunction with Boston University, recently tested the current pathogen with their emitters and found COVID-19 was eradicated in minutes. Finsen Tech is now able to verify with confidence that THOR UVC can eradicate COVID-19 contamination in minutes.

What products and services does Finsen Technologies offer?

Finsen Tech offers a suite of UVC products, services, and solutions to the healthcare sector. Each of these is best in class; and as specialists in this field, it is humbling to be able to assist all sectors in continuing to make our work places a safe environment.

THOR UVC is a revolutionary total room disinfection robot. It is used to terminally clean both air and surfaces and will eradicate and eliminate 99.9999% of healthcare-associated infections in minutes. THOR UVC has many unique features, including emitters that go from floor to ceiling, eliminating areas of shadow. It is also the only UVC system available worldwide that provides three pre-treatment room scans, ensuring that the most efficacious disinfection cycle is delivered each and every time.

The THOR UVC robot can be adjusted to any height between 1.1m and 2.25m, ensuring complete floor to ceiling disinfection and eliminating shadows with its patented technology. Its ergonomic handrail and unique six-castor wheel design makes it easy to move from room to room, for fast and efficient room turnaround. With our unique intelligent placement system, THOR UVC is placed into position and automatically extends to the optimum height to eliminate pathogens within dark and shadowed areas. There are four motion sensors that automatically switch off the tower should any movement be detected.

The HYPERION cabinet decontaminates non-invasive medical equipment and electronic devices, using UVC light technology which is clinically proven to kill pathogens in 60 seconds. The HYPERION cabinet is not just for hospital use: it can provide an ideal decontamination solution within hotels, restaurants, offices and more. HYPERION is a unique surface decontaminator: clinically effective against all problematic pathogens, it delivers 360° UVC decontamination and penetrates hard to reach areas of objects which can often be missed when cleaning by hand.

Unlike other decontamination technologies, the HYPERION UVC cabinet does not use chemicals or gases and operates at room temperature and pressure. It is an ideal solution for decontaminating sensitive medical and electronic equipment that cannot be processed in an autoclave or washer-disinfector.

Finsen Tech and the future

As specialists in the UVC field, we are constantly striving to bring new disruptive technologies to market which will assist in improving the lives of those around us. As researchers, developers, and manufacturers of these devices it is important to us as an organisation that we continue to lead this marketplace going forward. Watch this space!

Annette Crowe
Sales and Marketing Director
Finsen Tech
www.finsentech.com

This article is from issue 14 of Health Europa. Click here to get your free subscription today.

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