South African health care company, Netcare announced yesterday [March 24] that it is deploying “germ destroying robots” at its health care facilities. This is in response to the increase in the spread of the coronavirus.
“Netcare has for long placed an emphasis on infection prevention measures within its healthcare facilities as a result of the ongoing prevalence of highly infectious viruses such as the coronaviruses, and the so-called ‘super-bugs'”, said the Netcare Group’s chief executive officer Dr Richard Friendland.
“As a result we started to acquire super effective germ-destroying robots in late 2017, to further bolster out existing comprehensive disinfection measures,” he added.
According to the statement posted to Netcare’s Twitter, there are two types of robots they have been deployed. The one pictured above, and the Xenex pulsed ultraviolet (UV).
Both of these robots use large amounts of UV light to kill viruses, bacteria and fungi and to disinfect hospital wards, theatres and other spaces within minutes. The UV-C spectrum light destroys the DNA of these unwanted bacteria, viruses, and fungi to neuatralise them and prevent them from replicating. Dr Friedland says that innovations are a great investment, as COVID-19 will most certainly not be the last infectious illness to come to South Africa.
Dr Friedland also reports that these robots have showed impressive infection prevention. Since their trials in Netcare facilities in 2017, they have become important to the company and a strong defense against viruses and bacteria within the walls of Netcare hospitals.
At present, Netcare is in possession of 28 robots, which operate at 22 sites. They plan to acquire 13 more over the next few weeks.
Senior clinical advisor at Netcare, Dr Caroline Maslo assured that the robots are not used to replace infection risk management protocols. Instead, it is used alongside the pre-existing strategies as an additional line of defense.
Perfect for South Africa, these robots require no water and minimal electricity to function.
Image: Twitter / Netcare 911