UV Light-based robots may hold one of the keys to fighting and killing coronavirus and demand is expected. That's according to reports out of Japan. The reports cite representatives of Japanese equipment-maker Terumo and a recent successful test of Texas-based Xenex Disinfection Services' LightStrike robot.
While the initial distribution rights to LightStrike were given to Terumo in 2017, according to the company, it has seen an increase in demand for these specialized robots. In fact, deployment of the by the end of April had spread to no fewer than 11 new facilities. But between March and April, it saw an increase in inquiries from more than 100 medical institutions.
The devices typically sell for around 15 million yen — or $140,000 — and are already in use at around 500 health care facilities worldwide.
The increase in demand is attributed to a recent Xenex Disinfection Services test showing LightStrike is effective against coronavirus. Nations worldwide are seeking to eradicate the disease or, failing that, to flatten the curve with regard to its spread. That's in lieu of the discovery of an effective treatment or a vaccine.
Previous demand stemmed from the robotic solution's effectiveness against multidrug-resistant bacteria and the Ebola virus.
How does the LightStrike robot utilize light to kill coronavirus?
The LightStrike robot, as indicated above, utilizes UV light as part of its process for killing coronavirus and other diseases. That's based on the above-mentioned testing by Xenex Disinfection Services. The company proved, specifically, that it was effective in decontamination N95 masks utilized by hospitals.
While that's a long way from somewhat ridiculous recent proposals centered around the use of UV light internally for people, it's not without merit. Disinfecting those masks is a large step in terms of combatting the spread of the disease. Hospitals and other businesses could potentially use LightStrike to decontaminate beds, doorknobs, and other surfaces too.
That's because the masks have been in short supply globally but demand has remained high. The trend has forced hospitals to utilize alternatives to the N95 masks. And, in some cases, hospitals and other organizations have been forced to reuse protective equipment.
The robot emits light wavelengths between 200 and 315 nanometers. Xenex Disinfection Services has shown that, in fact, that's 99.99-percent effective when decontamination masks. It's not immediately clear how effective LightStrike will be on other surfaces without further testing. For the tested surfaces, the test showed success in just two minutes' time.
UV light works at home and other companies have been using it too
Now, UV light has already been shown killing coronavirus in other places. The benefit of using UV light is that it provides a viable solution without scratching, eroding, and other damages caused by cleaning chemicals. Some companies such as Samsung are presently offering to sanitize user devices via UV-C light. For Samsung users, all that's needed is a trip to a service center.
UV light is at the center of at-home solutions too. HoMedics, for example, lists one on Amazon for around $80 that can clean a device in around a minute. The gadget needs just 30-seconds per side and it fits neatly into a pocket.