MEDICAL

medical

It is well known that germicidal UV radiation effectively kills bacteria and virus whether or not the bacteria is resistant to antibiodics. However, UV lights are not conventionally used DURING a surgery due to the dangers posed to the patient and staff (skin cancer).

Columbia University has preliminary studies that show specific UV wavelengths (different than conventional UV germicidal lamps) do not pose the same risk to human exposure while they are still as effective at killing pathogens that cause infections unrelated to the original surgery (surgical site infections or SSI). The physics is simple and directly relates to the size difference between human cell size to the size of bacteria or virus, which are 100 x smaller.

If a very short wavelength of light is used for this application (most germicidal lamps use much longer wavelengths), it cannot penetrate to the genetic material of the human (or animal) cell and cannot cause cancer. However, since bacteria/virus are 100x smaller, it does effectively kill these microbes, creating a more sterile environment at the wound. The narrow–band radiation of Eden Park Illumination's lamps at 222 nm can be used for this purpose.

Between 0.5% and 10% of all clean surgeries in the US, corresponding to 300,000 to 400,000 patients per year, result in SSI. Patients who develop SSI have a mortality rate twice that of non-infected patients, have an average of 7 days additional length of hospital stay, and have roughly double the total healthcare costs compared with patients without SSI. Thus there is a financial incentive to develop tools to help reduce the occurrence of SSI.

A similar argument can be made for veterinary medicine, and in fact a stronger case can be made since it is believed the SSI rate in this field is closer to 20% for surgeries. This is likely due to the fact that it is harder to maintain a sterile environment for large animals undergoing surgical procedures.

 

For more information see:
https://www.ted.com/talks/david_brenner_a_new_weapon_in_the_fight_against_superbugs