Decontamination units that are said to kill bacteria and viruses such as MRSA and swine flu within one hour are undergoing trials at hospitals in Redditch and Worcester.
According to developer Meditrox, the technology, which has undergone live trials at Manchester University, could save thousands of lives by providing a faster method of sanitising hospital rooms without requiring a trained operator.
Mark Hamilton, director of Meditrox, said: ‘Between 12 to 15 per cent of people that go into a UK hospital contract a healthcare acquired infection. Previous systems to combat this have largely relied on toxic chemical agents that can be impractical to use and take longer to neutralise.’
The Meditrox 100 uses a combination of water vapour and ionised oxygen to create an atmosphere rich in hydroxyl free radicals. Over a period of one hour, these radicals are able to permeate the bacteria cells, killing both surface and airborne pathogens. The company claims that the room is then ready to be occupied by a patient.
Hamilton explained that the concept of using free radicals and ozone to kill viruses came from a system used in the food industry.
He said: ‘One of our biggest challenges was adapting the technology to the hospital environment. A key design concept was removing the operator from the equation and the system we now have allows a janitor to wheel the system into the room and push a button to activate it.’
The Alexandra Hospital in Redditch has two units and a further two are due to be delivered to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital.