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Harnessing the Power of UV-C and Ozone: A Superior Pathogen Management Strategy in Hospitals

A recent study reveals an evolved strategy for pathogen reduction in healthcare environments by combining Ultraviolet (UV)-C irradiation and ozone diffusion. Traditional methods of disinfection are proving less superior compared to this novel approach.

The research was brought to light through the Journal of Hospital Infection and involved a meticulous assessment of the effectiveness of ozone and UV-C air treatment. This combined technology was disseminated through the O3zy Light device, an innovative non-contact system. This mobile gadget couples a portable ozone generator and a UV-C sanitizer, all within a single wheel-mounted unit.

A three-week analysis was conducted in three different Italian hospitals to gauge the potency of the O3zy device. Healthcare settings were categorized into low-risk and medium-high risk areas based on their susceptibility to hospital-acquired infections.

To analyze the impact of the treatment, testing samples were accumulated weekly, post device usage, over the three-week timeframe. The pathogens tested ranged from Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus, non-β–haemolytic staphylococci, Clostridioides) and Gram-negative (Enterobacterales, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) bacteria, in addition to mold and yeasts (Candida and Aspergillus species).

A total of 240 samples from low-risk areas like rehabilitation gyms and changing rooms, and 144 from high-risk zones such as neurorehabilitation rooms were collected. The delivery of UV-C radiation constantly and ozone, when areas were devoid of patients, was the adopted strategy in low-risk areas. The combination of UV-C and ozone treatments led to a sizeable reduction, over 99%, in Gram-negative bacterial presence.

However, reductions for C difficile spores and Aspergillus species was variable throughout the study duration. There exists a correlation between the effectiveness of the UV-C and ozone disinfection and the frequency of treatments over the three-week period – greater frequency led to higher pathogen reduction.

For medium to high-risk areas, UV-C and ozone showed significant effectiveness against Gram-positive bacteria (S aureus and non-β–haemolytic staphylococci), Gram-negative bacteria, and Candida species; similar applied for low-risk zones. However, the susceptibility of Clostridioides and Aspergillus species from the high-risk areas towards the UV-C and ozone combination treatment was reduced.

Given the short duration of the study, the findings should be treated as preliminary with the need for extended research to generalize across multiple hospital settings. Moreover, an in-depth exploration to compare the cost-effectiveness of the no-touch sanitation devices against traditional cleaning procedures is crucial before full implementation.

According to the researchers, ‘The no-touch device holds promise for future research assessments to evaluate the necessary conditions for effective, large scale implementation in hospitals.’


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