While vaccine makers and drug companies are rushing to bring medical interventions to the market that might address the Ebola pandemic, there’s already a technology available right now that can kill Ebola in just two minutes in hospitals, quarantine centers, commercial offices and even public schools. It’s called the Xenex Germ-Zapping Robot, and it was invented by a team of Texas doctors whose company is based on San Antonio. The Xenex Germ-Zapping Robot uses pulsed xenon-generated UV light to achieve what the company calls “the advanced environmental cleaning of healthcare facilities.” Because ultraviolet light destroys the integrity of the RNA that viruses are made of, it renders viruses “dead.” (Viruses aren’t really alive in the first place, technically speaking, so the correct term is “nonviable.”). Ebola, just like most other viruses, are quickly destroyed by UV light. That’s why Ebola likes to spread in dark places where sunlight doesn’t reach. (Think of Ebola as a “vampire” virus that feeds off human blood but shuns sunlight…) The Xenex robot destroys Ebola on surfaces in just two minutes, zapping them with a specific wavelength of UV light at concentrations that are 25,000 times higher than natural sunlight.
The reason I’m covering this medical technology is because I’m seriously impressed with the concept and the green technology behind it. The Xenex unit generates UV light using xenon — one of the noble gases — rather than toxic mercury. So there’s no toxic mercury to deal with, even when disposing of the equipment after its useful life. So many of the approaches to disinfection in hospitals today are based on harsh, toxic chemicals that pose a secondary risk to the health of hospital patients and staff. But UV light emitted by the Xenex robot leaves no chemical residue whatsoever and requires no chemical manufacturing plant to manufacture. This is truly “light medicine” because it disinfects using specific frequencies of light.
The Xenex UV robot is already being used in about 250 hospitals. That number is likely to increase dramatically due to the current global Ebola outbreak.