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When one thinks of fighting robots, it is usually in context of them combating large terrifying alien creatures, not microorganisms that are invisible to the human eye. But the emergence of resilient bacteria that scientists call superbugs, has left medical experts with no choice, but to call in the best combat force they have available!
Though 99% of the infection causing pathogens can be effectively killed using antibacterial agents, 1% manages to escape unscathed. These survivors not only rapidly multiply, but also, take the DNA from the dead relatives and pass it on to other living bacteria.
As a result, the microorganisms start to build a resistance to existing antibacterial agents.
And while researchers are trying, the resilient bacteria are evolving at such a rapid pace, that the medical community has been unable to create drugs strong enough to combat them, once they enter the human body.
This is a frightening prospect for anyone, but becomes particularly problematic in hospitals, where a large number of ill and vulnerable people are contained in close quarters and likely to share germs. Not surprisingly, the abundance of these pathogens makes hospitals the most common breeding ground for superbugs.
While doctors and nurses fight the spread of germs by constantly washing hands and sanitizing, it is not always enough to prevent contamination. The situation is particularly tricky In operating rooms, where doctors need to take every precaution to ensure that the patient is not exposed to these superbugs, since an infection in an open wound or exposed organ, could prove fatal.
Now, thanks to the new Xenex germ-zapping robot, superbugs may have finally found their match. The brainchild of San Antonio, Texas, based Xenex LLC, the robot has proven effective against even the most dangerous pathogens, reducing surface contamination by up to 53%, and air contamination by 46%. In recent studies of health care facilities using the robot, this has helped reduce infection rates from some of the world's most deadly germs, bacteria and viruses, by an extraordinary 50%!
Xenex is easy to deploy. After a cleaning team has sanitized the patient, emergency or operating room as thoroughly as they can, the portable robot is brought in, to finish the job. Emitting ultraviolet light rays that are 25,000 times more powerful than those from the sun, the robot annihilates bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores, in a speedy quick 5-15 minutes. While the force of the ultraviolet light is certainly a factor, it is the kind that is emitted that makes the difference.
As you may or may not know, the sun emits three categories of ultraviolet rays - A, B & C. While we get exposed to the first two, the ozone layer that surrounds earth, blocks C. These are the rays that the Xenex robot emits. Because the bacteria have never been exposed to the ultraviolet C rays, they are effective in killing them. The best part is, Xenex leaves behind no chemical residue.
At a cost of $80,000 USD per unit, the bacteria-zapping robot seem expensive. However, it is a bargain when you take into account that infections caused by these superbugs result in killing about 100,000 people each year and, costing hospitals an additional $3 billion USD in patient care. It is therefore no wonder that the bug robots are becoming increasingly popular in hospitals and health care facilities, all across the country!