The power of UVC light to kill bacteria has been harnessed by disinfection equipment manufacturer Nanoclave to provide a fast and efficient means of decontaminating medical equipment and devices.
Using ultraviolet light to destroy micro-organisms is a well established concept. In fact, the 1903 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to Faroese-Danish physician and scientist Niels Finsen for his use of ultraviolet (UV) light against tuberculosis. Air and water purification remain the primary applications of UV decontamination, yet recent advances in technology have positioned it as an attractive option for decontaminating surfaces and a wide array of laboratory equipment.
Ultraviolet light offers a green solution to the decontamination of medical and electronic devices
The UV electromagnetic spectrum is subdivided into three distinct bands – A, B and C. The sun emits ultraviolet in all three bands. UV A and B are able to penetrate the ozone layer. By contrast UVC, which is the portion of the spectrum with the highest energy, is filtered out, and so none of it reaches the earth’s surface. As a result, bacteria, viruses and other micro-organic life forms have not built up a resistance to UVC.
When targeted micro-organisms are directly exposed to UVC light, the radiation penetrates the cell walls. The energy resonates the molecular bonds within the micro-organismal DNA, producing thymine dimers and thereby rendering them harmless by prohibiting growth and reproduction. The peak efficiency for micro-organism decontamination is achieved when the UVC light is produced at a wavelength of 254 nanometres and hence all UVC decontamination systems aim to artificially produce light at this peak.
The Nanoclave Cabinet uses no consumables and operates at a low power outage, resulting in significant cost reductions in comparison with other methods
Nanoclave Technologies designs and manufactures UVC products to eliminate bacterial and viral contamination. The company’s flagship product, the Nanoclave Cabinet, uses a patent-protected 360° (six-sided) UVC decontamination process to eradicate all micro-organisms in 60 seconds. It penetrates the hard-to-reach areas of laboratory and cleanroom devices, such as vents and recesses, which are often missed when disinfecting by hand.
Laboratory electronic devices can be sensitive to high temperatures or pressures or immersion in liquid, preventing them from being processed in an autoclave or washer/disinfector. By contrast, UVC exposure in the Nanoclave Cabinet occurs at room temperature and pressure and doesn’t involve moisture or immersion. The Cabinet has been tested by numerous independent academic institutions and accredited by the British Standards Institution (BSI). It is a class IIA CE certified medical device.
Perhaps the most attractive feature of using the Nanoclave process is speed. High-level decontamination is consistently achieved during the standard 60-second cycle. This makes the system attractive to manufacturers and laboratories that require assured decontamination levels but also wish to reduce time pressures on staff. One such manufacturer is Baxter Healthcare, which uses the device to decontaminate its Homechoice peritoneal dialysis machines at its service centres across Europe, where UVC provides a fast, repeatable and validated decontamination process.
The Nanoclave Cabinet also features an independent monitoring system, whereby each decontamination cycle is recorded on an SD card, as well as in printed form to attach to the device under decontamination.
Ultraviolet light offers a green solution to the decontamination of medical and electronic devices. The Nanoclave Cabinet uses no consumables and operates at a low power outage, resulting in significant cost reductions in comparison with other methods. The ultraviolet decontamination cycle is a safe and gentle process, operating at room temperature and room pressure, without the need for harmful chemicals and leaving no moisture residue on the device.
A nine-week independent laboratory trial at University College London Hospital (UCLH) conducted in 2010 assessed the ability of the Nanoclave Cabinet to eradicate methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE), Acinetobacter baumannii and Klebsiella pneumoniae from a range of difficult-to-clean surfaces and equipment.
the Nanoclave Cabinet has been successfully utilised to decontaminate a broad range of medical equipment and electronic devices in both the private and public sectors
In total, 204 tests were carried out on 51 sites with four bacteria types. The Cabinet achieved consistent 5 log (99.999%) reductions in bacterial contamination on a variety of difficult to clean surfaces. (Source: UCLH Laboratory assessment of the Nanoclave Cabinet of 31 August 2010.)
Since its launch in 2010, the Nanoclave Cabinet has been successfully utilised to decontaminate a broad range of medical equipment and electronic devices in both the private and public sectors. Following this success in the UK and Europe, it is now being launched within the life sciences and cleanroom sectors in 2012.