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UV trolley to disinfect Indian hospitals to combat COVID-19

Image credit: Press Information Bureau

The International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) has developed a UVC based disinfection trolley to fight against COVID-19 by rapidly cleaning hospital spaces.

ARCI is an autonomous research and development centre under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Hyderabad (UoH).

According to a press release, UV light in the range of wavelengths between 200 and 300 nm is capable of inactivating microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, thus disinfecting both air and solid surfaces.

Often, chemical disinfectants are not enough to remove the bacteria and viruses found in hospitals and other contamination prone environment. Rapid decontamination of the used patient-care beds and hospital rooms before admission of subsequent occupants is a major requirement in hospitals given the limited availability of beds. Coronavirus is sensitive to UVC light, as in the case of other viruses and bacteria.

The germicidal effects of UVC irradiation with a peak intensity at 254 nm results in cellular damage of the virus, thereby inhibiting cellular replication. Unlike chemical approaches to disinfection, UV light provides rapid, effective inactivation of microorganisms through a physical process.

The UVC disinfection trolley consists of 6 UVC germicidal tubes, which are arranged in such a way that 3 sides are illuminated with 2 tubes facing each direction. While these lamps disinfect the walls, bed, and room air, the floor is disinfected by 2 smaller UV lights located at the bottom facing the floor. The hospital rooms get disinfected when the trolley is moved around in the room by an operator in a protective suit and UV resistant goggles.

On average, the operator moving the UVC trolley system with an average speed of 5ft/min can cover a room of 400 sq ft. within 30 minutes for complete disinfection. The present system is the first prototype and is readily usable in hospitals and railway coaches that are also being planned for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Systems with smaller dimensions and further automation are in progress because rapid disinfection is required in aircraft cabins. The present system has been deployed (along with standard operating procedure and safety instructions) at the Employee’s State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) hospital in Hyderabad for field trials. The UV-light disinfection system must be operated in unoccupied rooms after the patient is discharged and in the absence of health personnel.

Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST said that dry disinfection and sterilisation of hospital rooms, instruments, and other surfaces in the high-risk areas using a deep ultraviolet light is a good solution, which is implemented by the designer trolley in a compelling package that brings in ease, speed and efficiency.

OpenGov reported earlier that the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) has developed a COVID-19 Sample Collection Kiosk (COVSACK).

The kiosk is automatically disinfected without the need for human involvement, making the process free of infection spread. The shielding screen of the kiosk cabin protects the health care worker from the aerosols or droplet transmission while taking the sample. This reduces the requirements of PPE changes by healthcare workers.

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