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Bacteria-killing light fixture reduces hospital infections

06 Jul 2015  | Paul Buckley

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Kenall Manufacturing has developed a light fixture developed by Scotland's University of Strathclyde that uses Continuous Environmental Disinfection technology to continuously kill harmful bacteria linked to hospital acquired infections (HAIs). The technology behind Indigo-Clean inactivates various microorganisms that are known causes of HAIs such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), C. difficile and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE).

Indigo-Clean

Indigo-Clean is a light fixture manufactured through an exclusive licensing agreement with the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, which developed, proved and patented the technology. The light operates continuously and requires no operator, kills bacteria in the air and on all surfaces, and complies with all internationally recognised standards for patient safety. Indigo-Clean was unveiled just before the annual meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) in Nashville.

"Indigo-Clean represents a breakthrough in helping to reduce HAIs," said Jim Hawkins, CEO of Kenall. "It bolsters current disinfection efforts by infection preventionists and environmental services professionals in the fight against HAIs."

Indigo-Clean uses a narrow spectrum of visible indigo-coloured light at an output of 405nm on the light spectrum. This High-Intensity Narrow Spectrum (HINS) light is absorbed by molecules within bacteria, producing a chemical reaction that kills the bacteria from the inside as if common household bleach had been released within the bacterial cells. Because the light is visible, it is lethal to pathogens but is safe for use in the presence of patients and staff.

"As part of Strathclyde's clinical engagement in the U.K. over the last seven years, this technology has proven effective in killing bacteria in hospital settings. We are proud that the University of Strathclyde selected Kenall to commercialise this in the U.S.," said Cliff Yahnke, Ph.D., Kenall's director of clinical affairs. "Breaking the chain of infection, from an infected patient, to the environment, to new patient, is vitally important, and the ability of this technology to be in use and effective at all times, will make a huge difference."

Strathclyde's technology has been in use since 2008 at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, a large teaching hospital operated by NHS (National Health Service) Greater Glasgow and Clyde. The technology and its effectiveness have been the subject of more than 20 peer-reviewed academic publications and 30 conference presentations since 2008. The HINS-light project was voted U.K. Research Project of the Year in 2011 by Times Higher Education magazine. Strathclyde gained a U.S. patent on the technology in 2014 and recently granted Kenall licensing rights for the North American healthcare market.

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