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Bacteria-killing light fixture made commercially available

The Indigo-Clean uses light to kill bacteria in hospital rooms.

By Stephen Feller
A fixture that kills bacteria using indigo-light may help prevent infections in hospitals. Photo courtesy University of Strathclyde
A fixture that kills bacteria using indigo-light may help prevent infections in hospitals. Photo courtesy University of Strathclyde

NASHVILLE, June 26 (UPI) -- A light fixture that kills micro-organisms in the air that are known causes of hospital-acquired infections, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, C.difficile and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, was introduced at the 2015 annual meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

The fixture, called Indigo-Clean, emits indigo-colored light that is absorbed by molecules within bacteria, producing a chemical reaction that kills the bacteria from the inside, a reaction similar to releasing bleach within the bacterial cells.

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Technology for the fixture was developed at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and has been in use since 2008 at the Royal Glasgow Infirmary, a test which has been the subject of several studies for effectiveness. The Indigo-Clean will now be commercially available in the United States and Canada.

"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," said Cliff Yahnke, Ph.D., director of clinical affairs at Kenall, the company manufacturing the fixtures, in a press release. "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."

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Indigo-Clean isn't the first device designed to kill bacteria in hospital rooms. Earlier this year, a robot that resembles Star Wars' R2-D2 was introduced that kills bacteria using xenon ultraviolet light.

The xenon ultraviolet light system requires people not be near it when turned on, because it can cause eye irritation and ultraviolet light is a carcinogen, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The Indigo-Clean, meant to be left on, is safe for people.

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