New form of lighting kills germs

Nov. 15, 2010 at 5:16 PM
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GLASGOW, Scotland, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Scottish researchers say they've developed a lighting system for hospitals that can effectively kill so-called "superbug" infections, including MRSA.

The technology, developed by researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, decontaminates the air and exposed surfaces by bathing them in a narrow spectrum of visible-light wavelengths, known as HINS-light, reported Monday.

In clinical trials at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, the system provided greater reductions of bacteria than were be achieved by cleaning and disinfection alone, researchers said.

"The technology kills pathogens but is harmless to patients and staff, which means for the first time, hospitals can continuously disinfect wards and isolation rooms," microbiologist John Anderson, one of the developers, said.

"The system works by using a narrow spectrum of visible-light wavelengths to excite molecules contained within bacteria," he said.

"This in turn produces highly reactive chemical species that are lethal to bacteria such as meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, and Clostridium difficile, known as C.diff."

HINS-light by itself has a violet hue, but the research team says a combination of LED technologies produces a warm white lighting system that can be used alongside normal hospital lighting.

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