According to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, the use of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection technology in an operating room eliminated up to 97.7% of pathogens (infectious agent), which otherwise could have caused hospital-acquired infections. The UV light technology that was used is by PurpleSun, a New York based company. PurpleSun’s UV technology can reach and clean multiple surfaces in several seconds, compared to traditional disinfecting methods which use chemicals and does not eliminate bacteria as well. Traditional methods also take longer, since it is normally humans cleaning with a disinfectant.
What is ultraviolet disinfection?
Ultraviolet disinfection is the use of UV light to disinfect. UV light is absorbed by the DNA and RNA of microorganisms, which in turn causes changes in the structure of the DNA and RNA. This makes the microorganisms incapable of replicating. According to Bolton (2008), “because they cannot multiply, they cannot cause disease, even though technically they are still metabolically alive.” Ultraviolet disinfection is more commonly used for the disinfection of water, however, it may soon become an effective method to eliminate bacteria causing hospital-acquired infections.
PurpleSun: pioneer in ultraviolet disinfection technologies?
PurpleSun is a New York based company, and is set to be the first company to launch ultraviolet-based technology as a disinfectant. Their mission, as stated on their website, is to reduce hospital-acquired infections, in order to save lives, reduce costs, and enhance safety in healthcare facilities.
On their website, they have identified 3 limitations with hospitals’ current disinfection process:
1) Everything is done by hand
2) There are thousands of surfaces, and not enough time to clean them all
3) There is no room for human error
PurpleSun’s light disinfectant will allow rooms to be cleaned within seconds, disinfect all the surfaces in the room and has been proven to be very effective in eliminating harmful pathogens.
Is ultraviolet technology the next step that healthcare facilities must take to reduce the risk of HAIs?
Light technology as a disinfectant is still in the process of experimentation in healthcare facilities. That being said, the study conducted produced highly favorable results. PurpleSun as a company has also been doing extremely well on a global scale, being named one of the 50 most promising companies in the world. Furthermore, many firms and organizations have been investing in and partnering with the company, demonstrating that the company has a lot of potential. The effectiveness of ultraviolet light as a disinfectant is undeniable, but for now, we will just have to wait and see what the future holds for it in healthcare facilities.
Bolton, James R. Cotton, Christine A.. (2008). Ultraviolet Disinfection Handbook (1st Edition). American Water Works Association (AWWA) . Retrieved from: