I love that technology innovations move so fast! In this case, it's saving lives.
In case you didn't know, Ebola has spread from Africa to other continents. There have already been nearly 4,000 deaths from Ebola, mostly in Africa, and now the first diagnosed case in the U.S. has died.
In an effort to stop deadly contagious diseases, like Ebola and MERS, before it gets truly out of hand, pharmaceutical companies have created a new disinfecting agent that can kill viruses and bacteria.
But this weird contraption looks like it belongs in a science-fiction movie, not disinfecting a hospital room. You won't believe how it works!
Manufactured by Xenex, the San Antonio-based company bills the Xenex machine as a "germ-zapping robot." It uses UV rays to disinfect non-porous surfaces of bacterial and viral infections.
While UV disinfection technology has been around for a while, Xenex made it far safer and faster. Mercury used to be used in UV disinfection units, but Xenex replaced the dangerous mercury with the naturally inert non-toxic gas, xenon.
The Xenex robot uses xenon to create UV C rays, the ones that are normally filtered out of our atmosphere by the ozone layer around the earth. The UV C rays are pulsed by the machine to reach all surfaces in a six to 12-foot radius around the Xenex robot.
The light rays kill the diseases by fusing their DNA , making it impossible for them to replicate. It essentially destroys all the blueprints for making more of the virus or bacteria.
The UV C rays are the perfect way to kill the diseases because there is no way for the diseases to mutate and become resistant since UV C doesn't naturally occur on earth.
And xenon is not only a lot safer, it speeds up the process. The Xenex machine can clean a room in a fraction of the time it used to take mercury-based machines - about five to ten minutes versus an hour.
You can see a promotional video below about how the Xenex machine works. It's currently being used in about 250 hospitals in the U.S., including the one in Dallas where the first diagnosed Ebola patient was treated.