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Lighting Technology Helps Combat Hospital Superbugs

MRSA bacteria (CDC)

Scanning electron micrograph image of MRSA bacteria (Janice Haney Carr, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

A lighting system that can kill hospital bacteria resistant to antibiotics called superbugs has been developed by researchers at University of Strathclyde in Glascow, Scotland. The superbug bacteria killed by this technology include methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (c. diff).

A team of professors from the university’s engineering, physics, and biology departments discovered and developed the technology.

The university says the technology decontaminates the air and exposed surfaces by bathing them in a narrow spectrum of visible-light wavelengths, known as HINS-light. The visible-light wavelengths excite molecules contained in the bacteria, which in turn produces highly reactive chemical species that are lethal to bacteria. The researchers say that the technology kills the pathogens, but is safe for patients and staff. HINS-light gives off a violet hue, but the research team used a combination of light-emitting diode (LED) technologies to produce a warm white light that can be used alongside normal hospital lighting.

The university says clinical trials at Glasgow Royal Infirmary have shown that the HINS-light system provides significantly greater reductions of bacterial pathogens in the hospital environment than can be achieved by cleaning and disinfection alone.

Related: Patent Awarded for Antimicrobial Polyurethane Resins

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